Political editor WALTER CRONXITE says that after an over-long and extremely lacklustre London election campaign, there has been one bright spot – and it’s not been Tory Shaun Bailey’s joke candidacy
It has been a very long, and very tedious, London election campaign, but for some of the capital’s voters, perhaps bewildered by the multitude of different voting systems employed and vast number of candidates for Mayor or the London Assembly, there has been one bright spot: Count Binface.
In elections that were postponed from 2020, among the various races-within-the-race for City Hall, there is a fascination among those who long ago tired of the lies of Tory Shaun Bailey or the deadly dull platitudes of Sadiq Khan (did you know: his father was a London bus driver?), the idea that a geezer with a bin on his head could attract more votes than the spittle-flecked campaign of Laurence Fox has lightened the mood these past couple of weeks.
And what’s more, unlike so much of so many of the pointless political campaigns, Binface is actually doing some good, by raising thousands of pounds for homelessness charities.
It is fair to say that the Mayoral campaign has more than one joke candidate.
Jeremy Corbyn’s brother, Piers, might fall into that category, though as a bad joke.
That UKIP still exists might surprise some, but that they picked as their candidate a bloke called Gammons will have prompted at least a chuckle.
That Mike Gammons and his Kipper mates forked out 10 grand to appear in the London Elects candidate booklet, and they then ended up on a page facing the Rejoin EU candidate, must have elicited a giggle or two, at least among those who bothered to open the candidate listing document at all.
And then there’s that ever-reliable laugh generator, Bailey himself. The Conservative Party’s joke candidate for Mayor started on a 32-borough tour of London last week in a 20-year-old toxic diesel-fuelled bus which has been costing his party £300 per day in fines because it does not meet the city’s emission rules.
And signal to Bailey’s leadership qualities, or the complete absence of them, he began his London-wide tour at Hammersmith Bridge, with his supporters arriving on the opposite bank of the Thames, unable to cross the river because the bridge is closed, with the Tory government refusing to shell out for its multi-million-pound repair bill.
But it is Binface – played by comedian Jon Harvey – who has truly touched Londoners’ funny-bones, with thousands of right-minded individuals considering giving him their first-preference vote, certain that Khan will be re-elected Mayor while they take their opportunity to pour scorn on the bile-filled campaign of Fox.
If Binface appears familiar, that will be because he has run for office before … well, dawdled really, standing in parliamentary elections in the tradition of Screaming Lord Sutch in the constituencies of Tory PMs Theresa May and then, in 2019, Boris Johnson.
Then, he was called Lord Buckethead, “but I renounced my peerage, partly because I promised to abolish the Lords and I’m a politician who keeps his promises, and partly because of an unpleasant battle on the planet Copyright”, Binface has said.
“I challenged Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the 2019 election and secured a glorious 69 votes against him. Yes that’s right, I experienced an unexpected 69 with Boris in an Uxbridge sports hall on Friday 13 at 4am under a full moon.”
And Croydon – the borough which gave the world Binmaggedon – rightly features strongly in Binface’s manifesto, which has as many undeliverable promises as most of his election rivals.
“Croydon to get a facelift, ironically,” Binface’s blurb states. Which amounts to a better plan to sort out the mess created by Westfield than anything that the borough’s or the capital’s so-called “serious” politicians have managed to come up with so far.
Binface has a Royal policy, too, which should interest Eagles fans: “The Royal Family to keep one of Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, St James’ Palace and Clarence House, with the rest gifted to the nation to help eradicate homelessness. If the royals complain that one palace isn’t enough, they will be forced to buy Crystal Palace FC.”
There are other, non-Croydon-centric Binface policies that might appeal…
- “No shop to be allowed to sell a croissant for more than £1.”
- “Finish Crossrail.”
- “London to join the EU.”
- “Piers Corbyn to be banished to the Phantom Zone.”
- “Mask-wearing in public to be encouraged, during the pandemic and beyond.”
- “Traitors Gate to be reopened for business, and to welcome Dido Harding on Day 1.”
- And, “All government ministers’ pay, including the Mayor’s, to be tied to that of nurses for the next 100 years.”
Such has been the success of Binface’s campaign that across the capital on election day tomorrow, thousands of Londoners are expected to wheel out their bins to show their support. Or hope that their rubbish gets collected, one or the other.
“I took a look at the other candidates and thought that this looks like a rubbish election,” the Count said at his manifesto launch.
To help with his campaign, Count Binface set up a GoFundMe page in January 2020, and asked “supporters of relatively sensible politics” to chip in. He has promised that any money that exceeds his targets will be donated to the charity Shelter, to help combat homelessness in London.
And his special plea to voters on election day? He’s telling Londoners that he cannot win. “That’s why Londoners can freely give me their first-choice vote, and then choose to either vote for or against Sadiq Khan with their second choice.”
According to the eve of polls bookmaker odds, Sadiq Khan is 1/66 (that’s stake £66 to win £1), with Tory Shaun Bailey 25/1.
Khan is offered at 9/4 to retain the Mayoralty with 50 per cent or more of first preference votes.
The Greens’ Sian Berry is rated as a 100/1 fourth favourite to be London’s new Mayor, with Luisa Porritt, of the Liberal Democrats, 200/1.
That’s the same 200/1 odds being offered on Laurence Fox.
Count Binface is 500/1.
- For the full list of candidates and jokers standing in the London Mayor election, click here
- For the full list of London Assembly candidates standing in Croydon and Sutton, click here
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