Início Uncategorized Meet the ‘intergalactic space warrior’ challenging U.K.’s Rishi Sunak – National

Meet the ‘intergalactic space warrior’ challenging U.K.’s Rishi Sunak – National

One candidate served as the United Kingdom’s most recent prime minister and currently leads the Conservative Party.

Another claims to be from space, has promised to “build at least one affordable house, which is more than all the other parties can muster between them” and wants to force all former prime ministers to enlist in the army.

They are both running to win the same riding in England’s north though one of them is doing it more satirically than the other.

But because of British election procedure, win or lose, Rishi Sunak will stand on the same stage on Thursday night as Count Binface, whose head is a silver garbage bin and who dresses in all silver, including a cape.

The procedure “is the great leveller of Earth democracy, and I think it is fantastic,” Binface told Global News.

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His platform also includes tying ministers’ pay to that of nurses for 100 years, introducing “Wi-Fi on trains that works” as well as “trains that work” and banning loud snacks from theatres.

But far more importantly, he said his candidacy is a celebration of the ability to vote and to stand for election.

“It’s the wonder of democracy,” he told Global News.

“And I’m here to cherish it, defend it and celebrate it.”

Click to play video: 'U.K. election: Sunak, Conservatives face electoral wipeout'

U.K. election: Sunak, Conservatives face electoral wipeout

Anyone in the U.K. can stand for election if they receive 10 signatures and pay a fee of £500, around $868.

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Binface, sometimes known as British comedian Jonathan Harvey, has taken advantage of those relatively low barriers to challenge two other prime ministers – though he did so first in 2017 as “Lord Buckethead,” another helmed satirical candidate.

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(Binface said he “respawned” into his true form after losing a battle on Planet Copyright because Buckethead is a trademarked character.)

With one exception, he usually gains very few votes – but gains photos of him standing next to prime ministers.

Count Binface, a candidate in Britain’s upcoming general election, poses for a selfie with festival-goers during the Glastonbury Festival in Worthy Farm, Somerset, England, Saturday, June 29, 2024. (Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP).

Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP

His greatest success so far was in London’s mayoral election earlier this year when more than 24,000 people voted for him.

The successful candidate, incumbent Sadiq Khan, even thanked Binface for being there during his victory speech. And it’s all part of a system that — though it might seem odd to non-Brits — reflects the larger historical presence of irony and sarcasm in British politics.

“There’s been significant satire in British politics ever since the 1960s,” University of Cambridge professor Peter Sloman said.

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“It’s just part of the way we do politics.”

He said it isn’t clear who is voting for Binface or other novelty candidates, though he suspects it is young people.

When Global News asked Binface, he said simply “Londoners.”

He also suggested British media should look more closely at why so many people cast ballots for him.

Sloman pointed out that the 24,000 votes account for only about one per cent of ballots cast in that election.

“I don’t think he is likely to have a significant impact on the outcome of the election,” Sloman said of Binface.

Independent candidate Count Binface stands with Britain’s Prime Minister and Conservative Party Leader Boris Johnson as they wait for the Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency count declaration at Brunel University in Uxbridge, London, Friday, Dec. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth).

(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

Even with many polls and pundits predicting a huge defeat for the U.K. Tories – some have even suggested a “Canada-style” defeat, referencing the 1993 federal election where Kim Campbell’s Tories were reduced to just two seats – Sloman said he doesn’t believe Binface will “have a significant impact” on the election.

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Sunak faced sharp criticism after leaving a D-Day memorial event early. His Richmond and Northallerton riding holds one of the British army’s largest barracks.

And that’s after 14 years of Conservative rule that saw other Tory scandals, like members partying while the rest of the country was locked down during the pandemic.

Sloman said the rival Labour Party looks poised to benefit and that he’s not sure who Binface would pull votes away from – if he gets many.

“If the only thing that makes people not vote Labour is the presence of an alien with a bin for their head and a croissant-fixated manifesto,” Binface said when asked about vote splitting, “that says to me that the Labour Party needs to try a little bit harder.”

When asked if he planned to speak to Sunak on election night, Binface said he planned on being polite and expected the same in return.

“I would love to be able to demonstrate that, whatever our political differences, we are all democrats, on Earth at least,” he told Global News.

“I hope I get to stand quite close to him – although I’m sure his minders will do their best to avoid that.”

—with files from Reuters

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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