After a glorious Easter bank holiday weekend, this week has seen political parties announce their candidate lists for the European parliamentary elections. And oh boy, some of them resemble a police lineup where the crime is an am-dram group’s adaptation of Carry on Screaming!.
Let us begin with – I’m so sorry – the Brexit Party. Last seen in the “Celebrity” Big Brother house and being repeatedly dragged across a dancefloor on Strictly Come Dancing is Ann Widdecombe.
In the first example of me ever agreeing with her on anything,Widdecombe said: “Britain is an international laughing stock. Parliament is beyond parody, and the whole nation is fed up to the back teeth.” Our common ground ends there, given that in her 23 years of being in parliament, she voted against every single piece of pro-LGBT+ legislation, has championed the death penalty, and said of the women Harvey Weinstein sexually abused: “There was a choice there.” Widdecombe also called the Women’s March “pathetic” and is vehemently anti-abortion. She gets my vote!!!
The Brexit party’s other major signing is Annunziata Rees-Mogg, twice failed Conservative parliamentary candidate and sister of Jacob Rees-Mogg, unveiled last week dressed in multiple shades of pink that made her look a bit like a vulva.
She once authored a piece with the title: How to profit from the world’s water crisis and has railed against “the politicians in their gilded cage”. Former investment banker, daughter of life peer William Rees-Mogg, and alumna of posh private school Godolphin and Latymer, Rees-Mogg did not go to university. But if she had, she told the Independent in 2006, she knew she’d “have great fun, spend my parents’ money and do very little work”. Annunziata has totally normal hobbies (“I collect trees”) and once compared the attempted modernisation of the Tory party to the remodelling of Selfridges. In further totally normal scenes, Annunziata was “aged eight out canvassing, proudly wearing my [Conservative] rosette”. She gets my vote, too!!!
Claire Fox, also standing for the Brexit party, is a broadcaster, writer and a fellow traveller of the Melanie Phillips Pathway to Full-Blown Political Mess. Fox was a communist for 20 years. Since then, Fox is best known for libelling ITN journalists by claiming they had fabricated evidence of Serbian war crimes; apparently defending Gary Glitter’s right to download child porn (a claim she denies, which, you know, you would) and heading up the shadowy Institute of Ideas. She gets my vote!!!
Let’s move on to Change UK, which has also unveiled its new logoconsisting of four black bars. Basically Change UK’s logo looks like the Mueller report. Rather brilliantly, however, it won’t appear next to its candidates’ names on ballot papers, because a previous iteration of the logo was rejected by the Electoral Commission.
The Tiggers’ headline candidate is Rachel Johnson, last seen most prominently with a similar redaction bar over her breasts on television. Now, I quite like Rachel Johnson, and am forever grateful for the dogeared copies of the Lady, which she formerly edited, flicked through in hundreds of Oxford dentists’ waiting rooms. Her reason for standing is to “not wreck the bright future of young people”, which is an excellent objective. This remark came a day after Boris Johnson wrote in his Telegraph column that he is “utterly fed up with being told by nice young people that their opinions are more important than my own”. (Unclear whether he includes his 30-year-old girlfriend in this criticism.)
Johnson (Rachel), said that: “I’m sure that Boris understands why this is not a vote against Boris.” Obviously, Boris will not understand this. Because Boris thinks that everything is about him.
Fellow sibling Jo Johnson is a Conservative MP and former transport minister and father Stanley Jonson is an erstwhile MEP, leading Rachel to tell the Telegraph: “I have entered politics to spend more time with my family.” Again, totally normal.
The two members of the immediate Johnson family not born to rule are brother Leo and mother Charlotte Johnson Wahl, an artist who has aided mental health patients, and at 76, is still working as a fine portraitist. I would actually vote for her.
Absurdly, Claire Fox is not the only MEP candidate (SHE DENIES IT) to have defended Gary Glitter. Change UK The Independent Group’s key Scotland candidate, Joseph Russo – before he was forced to step down – appears to once have tweeted: “The arrest of Gary Glitter smacks of the police targeting low-hanging fruit.” He also tweeted “black women scare me”. His resignation came the day after a London candidate, Ali Sadjady, resigned after the discovery of a 2017 tweet saying that “70% of pickpockets caught on the London Underground are Romanian”. 100% of Russo and Sadjady is horrendous. So annoyed they can no longer get my vote!!!
The following is not a true crime of character, given how many of us were A Bit Much at 20, but it is still absolutely hilarious that candidate Frances Weetman once wrote a (since-deleted) blog about how she snitched on her fellow university students for playing The Inbetweeners Movie too loudly, and then compared the fallout to Nazi Germany. Weetman cast herself as a persecuted minority as she was the only one (obviously) who had a problem with people watching a film of an evening not on mute. She gets my vote!!!
Ukip has chosen a man, Carl Benjamin, whose hobbbies seem to include making rape jokes, and when questioned about this by a Sky journalist, defended his love of rape jokes and then yelled: “ANY QUESTIONS?” to a reporter who was literally, right then, in that moment, asking him questions, at a question and answer session. Its other prominent candidate is that guy who taught a pug how to sieg heil. He calls himself Count Dankula. His actual name is Mark. I can’t wait to vote for them!!!
These candidates are not so much an embarrassment of riches as just an embarrassment. To be fair, among the Gary Glitter fans and The Inbetweeners Movie Truthers, there are some nurses and teachers and seemingly not ridiculous people. But the thought of most of our potential representatives in the European parliament … well, perhaps this is the first time I have ever been pro-Brexit.
• Hannah Jane Parkinson is a Guardian columnist
Content provided by The Guardian. Original piece can be found here https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/24/euro-candidates-turned-me-into-brexiteer