And May 5th 2005 is, technically, no different.
In Leeds East there are the candidates for the big three parties and a great wild card independent, Socrates 322, aka Peter Boswell.
On the ballot paper he's known as the hybridised Peter Socrates. Shame that; at least do the full deed poll thing and make the result sound great.
Reminds me of the Crosby by-election in 1981 when a comic masterstroke was attempted by a guy called John Desmond Lewis who changed his name to the one from the Monty Python sketch, Tarquin Fintim-Limbim-Whimbim-Lim Bus Stop-F'Tang-F'Tang-Olé-Biscuit-Barrel.
The killjoy announcer declaring the results called him merely 'Tarquin Biscuit-Barrel', and was met with a loud chorus of derisive noises and booing.
Weirdly, at Crosby the seat was taken by Shirley Williams for the SDP. They were a bunch who'd quit Labour cos it was too lefty. The mutated into the LibDems, who are now the ones people vote for cos Labour are too far right.
Anyway, Socrates has had a great leaflet delivered to his prospective electors.
He puts in some democratic principles
Republics should not be confused with democracies. A truly democratic society is governed by its citzenry. Elections need to be replaced by proxy voting.
Some almost-understandable policy
A start would be the establishment of independent 'international' courts. These special courts would:
- Make determintations relating to contract. Validity thereof and breaking thereof.
- Make determinations relating to guardianship.
- Arbitrate ownership disputes (thereby establishing valid ownership)
- 'States' to become valid voluntary agreements (contracts) of consenting adults (citizens).
These courts will have no punishment role and no enforcement role. Neither will they interpret statute, (as present 'justice' systems do). So they need not be coincident with states. International Charities please note.
He adds some comic defeatism
Should you vote for me, I shall not suppose that you otherwise agree with me on "policy matters" (I do not expect to win)
Love that one; vote for me whatever you think!
I bet the Tories wish they'd thought of it first.
Then there's a poem he's written
16. The Tower
I asked for a whiskey
And when the job was done
I had another
The last tree was felled
The chaos was well begun
Death disease destruction war
no way back
Did no-one see this coming?
No-one looked up
I poured another whiskey
"This one for Easter Island"
The next is for you.
And a spot-the difference pair of pictures of him next to a statue of the original Socrates. You've gotta admit, the resemblance is a bit uncanny.
I understand a candidate needs to poll 5% of the vote to get their deposit back. Socrates needs to get about 1,500 votes if he's to see his (poetically enough) 1,500 quid again.
Still, he's the only one standing apart from the big three parties, so you never know, maybe he'll catch the we-hate-them-all ballot paper spoilers and people falling prey to a last minute flash of conscience. Here's hoping.
The fact that deposit retention is based on the percentage of the vote means I'm forced to participate. My constituency, Leeds Central, has the fascist British National Party's potential next leader Mark Collett standing.
Although an irrelevance for much of the 1990s, in recent years they BNP have dramatically increased their haul at the polls, even getting seats on local councils. So I've got to vote for somebody to help keep the BNP's proportion low and ensure they lose their deposit.
That Who Should You Vote For? site is, incidentally, a waste of time. As with all those online polls - Which Star Wars character are you?, Which breed of dog are you? - it tells you far more about those who set the questions than those who answer them and is merely a device to make you get a bit older.
I did it for the hell of it several weeks ago, got roughly;
Which, I assure you, is total arse.
I just did it again and got;
Odd to get it so different when I'm sure I haven't changed that much in two weeks. Still, at least I've lost that scary positive number for UKIP.
But it's still nonsense. They aren't asking questions about issues that I believe to be important. There is no mention of climate change or peak oil, compared to which all other issues are pathetically trivial.
They don't have any options to veto somebody who has a policy to do something unconscionable. Like perpetually threatening the world with illegal Weapons of Mass Destruction. Like the ludicrous and suicidal belief in the myth of permanent economic growth.
So, frighteningly enough, I've got to think up the answer for myself. As I've explained in earlier posts and above, the big three can fuck right off. Which leaves me with the swivel eyed loons (try typing those three words into Google and see who you get), or a choice of three independents.
One of them is standing as 'Alliance For Change: Restore People's Freedom'.
Alliance For Change is a banner used by independents of a vaguely similar outlook (essentially quite fluffy), in the hope that one day there'll be enough to cross the threshold required for a 'party' to get a TV election broadcast.
Although every candidate gets propaganda delivered to electors for free, my house has received none of it. The only leaflets we've had are for the English Democrats, who aren't actually standing in my constituency. Their leafleters appear to have strayed across the border from Leeds North West where they are standing. There's a nice irony in a Nationalist party not recognising borders.
My friend Bluebell, a co-Leeds Centraller, has had all the fliers and says the AFC guy is some kind of Christian. Hmmm.
Of the remaining two, one is an independent socialist. The egalitarian principles are all well and good, but his guiding ideals are to build workers power. Whereas I want to see power destroyed and work abolished.
Which leaves me with a guy called Oluwole Taiwo. He too is apparently a Christian. However, I'm presuming with a name like that he's a black man of African origin, so as my vote is really just an anti-BNP vote it'd be very funny to see Oluwole poll more votes than the racist fuckwits.
Where's Socrates when you need him?