UK elections feature novelty candidates blurring lines between politics and satire

Every general election, the United Kingdom sees a handful of novelty candidates who often succeed in blurring the lines between politics and satire.

The crop of eccentrics running in Thursday's vote includes an AI chatbot, an actual pub and an intergalactic space lord.

The tradition took off in the 1980s, when the Official Monster Raving Loony Party - motto "Vote for Insanity" --registered as a political party and fielded two candidates.

All a candidate needs to stand to become a member of parliament is a £500 (€630) deposit and 10 supporting signatures.

"There's aspects of this that has to do with the UK sense of humour and our traditions of satire and mockery," Andrew Blick, politics professor at King's College London, told French news agency AFP.

But he said that as, politics have become "in some senses more ridiculous" in recent years, it can "ripe for satire".

"I think they do have some value: they attract attention to the system, some of the issues they raise, though they do it in a humorous way, are serious issues," he added.

Sometimes, the joke works: the furry mascot of Hartlepool football club, H'Angus the Monkey, actually won the town's 2002 mayoral contest. All-day pub opening -- now a reality -- was once merely a Loony policy.

Count Binface

Count Binface, the "intergalactic space warrior" is running against Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in headgear shaped like a rubbish bin.

His pledges include building at least "one affordable home" and national service for all former prime ministers.

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