For those of us permanently caught up in the unending shit cascade of the American political system, it might be somewhat surprising to learn that another major nation had a full-on, government-altering election today. But it’s true: the U.K. got together with itself for a little electoral tango this evening, in the interest of shaking things up and figuring out how, if, and when it’s going to be forced to stick to its last big electoral decision to Brexit.
The results for that election are still coming in, although it looks like Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party is taking a few hits, and is likely to lose the majority it needs to rule outright without some form of compromise. If we’re being honest, though, the intricacies of British politics are a bit beyond us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some of the quirkier elements of its electoral system.
You see, one of the fun wrinkles of the British system is that the Prime Minister is still technically a regular member of Parliament, which means they have to stand in the same elections as everybody else. Also, it’s traditionally expected for would-be ministers to stand with their fellow candidates while the results are being read off. And, finally, it’s important to remember that the the barriers for entry into a U.K. election for independent parties are decidedly low.
Which is all a long way of saying: Meet Lord Buckethead:
Serving as the sole representative of the Gremloid Party—which, like the intergalactic overlord himself, is apparently a reference to a 1984 B-movie called Hyperspace—Buckethead ran against May for her seat in the southern England district of Maidenhead, billing themselves as “the most powerful protest vote in the galaxy.” Assuming it’s the same person—because, again, they never take off that bucket—it’s actually the third time the black-cloaked satirist has run against the sitting Conservative PM; someone operating under the name also challenged Margaret Thatcher in 1987, and John Major in 1992.
Although the U.K. has a long history of farcical candidates (hence the appearance of Elmo and the representative from the Monster Raving Loony Party in the picture above), Lord Buckethead manages to distinguish themselves by being the rare joke candidate who’s actually pretty funny. Their personal manifesto is especially good, promising to nationalize British pop sensation Adele, and offering free bicycles to the British people, in order to combat “obesity, traffic, and bike theft.”
Buckethead’s message apparently resonated with the people; they scored 152 votes tonight—vs. May’s 37,718—constituting their biggest electoral success to date.