Our political editor, WALTER CRONXITE, reports on something (sadly?) lacking from the local elections in Croydon next month
Croydon is not the only south London borough staging council by-elections next month.
But, after the candidate nominations were released last week, it quickly became apparent that in nearby “Royal” Kingston upon Thames, the Chessington South by-election would have something sorely missing from every other ballot paper on May 6: Official Monster Raving Loony Party candidates – 13 of them.
It is believed to be a record number of candidates from one party to stand in the same electoral area in one ballot.
Croydon has five ward by-elections taking place in three weeks’ time, and not a single Official Monster Raving Loony Party candidate among them.
Indeed, Croydon has been bereft of such political subversion since the local Loony defected to join… the Conservative Party.
Chessington South, in LibDem-controlled Kingston, has a total of 19 candidates, including all the usual suspects, plus a very active “Chessington Matters” candidate from the local independent residents’ group, Michelle Akintoye.
The by-election was triggered by the resignation of Liberal Democrat councillor Patricia Bamford after 22 years on the council, due to changes in her family circumstances. It’s fair to suggest that the seat should be a safe LibDem hold.
Chessington’s Official Monster Raving Loony candidates, who include the Casual Count of Corinthian, the Rev Robbie the Radical Recyclist and Kingstonian Newt, don’t appear too worried about splitting the absurdist vote.
The OMRLP candidates all appear to be regulars at the Lucky Rover Pub in Chessington.
Choice among their other Chessington candidates – who may all have had to change their names by deed poll to appear on the ballot paper under these new titles – are Baron Von Achenbach, Undertaking Director Brunskill, A Gent Chinners, Colonel Cramps, Andrew Stuart Mackinlay and Duke Diddy Dodd.
One of those might be a LibDem that slipped in by accident…
As ridiculous as the OMRLP may appear as it satirises the British political process, it has not been without success.
The OMRLP did actually win a seat on Ashburton town council in Devon in 1987, when Alan “Howling Laud” Hope was elected unopposed. He later became deputy mayor and in 1998 Mayor of Ashburton (he was already used to dressing up in silly costumes).
The first OMRLP member to win a vote was Stuart Hughes, taking the “safe” Conservative Party seat of Sidmouth Woolbrook on East Devon district council in May 1991. He also took a seat on Sidmouth town council.
Croydon’s resident Loony, who now goes by the name of John Cartwright, never achieved such success, on one occasion getting just 11 votes.
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