I’m a little irked with Great Britain right now.
I mean, why do they have to come over here and steal our electoral process? British Columbia already had a messed-up hung parliament election. We already had a scramble by our parties to make alliances with a tiny and largely insignificant third party to create a functioning coalition.
And then Britain comes along and does it bigger and weirder.
But despite my general aggravation at the fact that they’re playing follow the leader, I do think we could still learn a lot from British elections.
Most importantly, we really need to import their election night traditions.
If you’ve never seen British election night coverage (or the episode of Black Adder that mercilessly mocks it), there are a few major differences.
First, there are the ribbons. For some reason, most candidates wear a ribbon that looks like the prizes they hand out for the best calves at the 4-H. This is to colour-code the candidates by party, or possibly to indicate that they’re up for auction at the end of the evening.
Second, all the candidates gather together in a single, central location. Then they wait, both for the national results, and to see which among them will eventually become the MP.
This means that party leaders are forced to stand beside serious challengers, as well as… other folks.
Theresa May, current (as of this writing) UK prime minister thus had to not only face down Labour candidate Pat McDonald and Liberal Democrat Tony Hill, but candidates such as Bobby Smith of the Give Me Back Elmo Party (wearing a full-sized Tickle Me Elmo costume), Howling Laud Hope of the Monster Raving Loony Party, and most impressively, Lord Buckethead.
Lord Buckethead is, I am convinced, the greatest political innovation of the past half century, and I would like to invite them to move to Canada and run in our elections, forevermore.
Dressed all in black, including their cape, Lord Buckethead’s helmet is a tall cyclinder with a narrow visor, from whence they gaze upon a disappointing planet.
Apparently hailing from a distant star (via the obscure 1984 science fiction comedy Hyperspace), their lordship has run three times in the last few decades, attempting to take on various Conservative leaders.
They did not come terribly close to winning May’s riding, with 249 votes to May’s 37,718. (It is possible that their policies of free bicycles, legalizing the hunting of fox hunters, and the nationalization of British singer Adele did not resonate with the voters. Seems sensible to me, though!)
But their lordship did do better than Howling Laud Hope, Elmo, two independents, and the Christian Peoples Alliance.
There are some who say that we should not allow these “joke” candidates, that entry requirements should be tightened and that we should take our politics seriously.
Those people are dumb as a box of rocks.
Putting Theresa May next to a guy in an Elmo costume, a Howling Laud, and an intergalactic space tyrant is just what politics needs.
Despite Lord Buckethead’s intergalactic origins, they bring the powerful down to earth. They remind us that our politicians are just people, and often very silly, self-regarding people who can’t take a joke.
There is nothing in this world more pure and worthy than mocking the powerful and humourless.
Which is why I propose a law (let us call it the Buckethead Bill) that would require candidates to gather together for the official results announcement on election night. And lower the cost of registering to run to $1.