Blog

Home Family Tree Loony Blog Misc Contact
Stoke-on-Trent      
 

A blog about my part in the Loony Party (or an upside-down biography)

 
23rd Feb 2017 Candidate in the Stoke-on-Trent Central By-election

Stoke-on-Trent was my tenth attempt on Parliament, and fourth by-election. I have taken a leaf out of the Iconic Arty Pole's book and it is the first time I have stood with an adjective having previously been described by nouns.
Collecting the nominations was bitterly cold, but an easy task as Stokies are the friendliest people on the planet. I do genuinely believe that Hanley would be the perfect place to rehouse Parliament. Not only is it perfectly positioned geographically but the the warmth of the locals might just have a profound effect on the workings of government. Imagine what a fine building the country could build in Hanley with a fraction of the money required to renovate the Palace of Westminster. In my perfect world Parliament would be housed in Hanley and the Welsh assembly would be moved to Stoke with the Scottish Parliament housed in Tunstall. This would require the ownership of the respective towns to be turned over to their respective nations, thereby ensuring the governing bodies autonomy. It may be possible to cede Longton to Northern Island and Fenton to the Irish Republic, but I may be just getting ridiculous.

   
RU Seerius, Leutenant Jâger Schnitzel, Sir Tax-A-Lot, The Inflatable Johnny Disco, The Incredible Flying Brick, Hell n' Bak, Howling laud, Karen, Lady Table Manners, The Indestructible Captain Chaplington-Smythe

My interview with Emma Thomas outside BBC Radio Stoke was aired on Sunday Politics with my policy of 'putting Piranha’s in the River Trent to make fishing a spectator sport' turning out to be very popular with the newspapers. A later declaration in my campaign that I am 'the only true fakir of fake news, almost but not quite, a facetious factory of fakiry,' was considerably less popular and hardly mentioned at all.
A magnificent troupe of Loonies met at ‘The Terrace’, City Road, Fenton. I was joined the Illustrious Howling Laud, RU Seerius, Helen ‘Bak, Leutenant Jâger Schnitzel, Karen, Sir Tax-A-Lot, & Lady Table Manners. The Inflatable Johnny Disco and the Indestructible Captain Chaplington-Smythe lent support and guidance at the pub but returned to Manchester before the count.
The count was a big event and had a great atmosphere, Paul Nuttall made a bee-line for our party leader and gave him a big hug, I believed that this was in anticipation of a Loony victory. We mingled seamlessly with the other parties and candidates including Barbara Fielding, who has the aura of a lovely sweet lady which is the antithesis of her message. It was a pleasure to meet the Liberal candidate Dr Zulfiqar Ali, a real gentleman and heart surgeon.
There was an exciting scrum at the end of the night when the election was declared. In a strange break with tradition the candidates weren’t invited to join the returning officer on stage. Instead we were swallowed up in a frenzied media circus around Paul Nuttall and the winner Gareth Snell who gave me a man-hug in the excitement! He then fought his way through teaming tangle of reporters to give a some-what drowned out speech.
I once again came seventh, in a field of ten and came ahead of the BNP

8th Dec 2016 Election Agent for The Iconic Arty-Pole at the Sleaford and North Hykeham By-election.

I have always assumed that when two by-elections occur around the same time, the returning officers liaise and arrange a mutually agreeable date. This wasn't the case with Richmond and Sleaford as polling days were one week apart, allowing Howling and I to attend both.
It took me a couple of hours to reach Sleaford including the half hour to change a tyre in the 'Derbyshire Hotel' car park just off Junction 28 in Pinxton. Lincolnshire is a large but with poor roads, so Arty also took the same time to travel across the county and we met up shortly after 10am on the 10th of November. Arty was sprited in his collection of nominations and it didn't take long to collect them from houses around Castle Terrace. We were even invited in by Pearl for a warming cup of tea. I don't know what it is about the Council Elections Departments but they are always populated by extremely elegant people, and Sleaford is no exeption. Marcella who took our papers was the most civilised lady you could ever meet, I hope our Elections Departments always remain this way.

   
High Sherrif of Lincolnshire Mrs Jill Hughes / The Iconic Arty-Pole, Flying Brick, Hel 'n Bak, Howling Laud
1st Dec 2016 Counting Agent for Howling Laud at the Richmond Park By-election

The last time an MP stood down with the plan of restanding again was in Haltemprice and Howden, and that, with twenty six candidates, was for me, the craziest by-election yet . . . Richmond Park didn't have the same number of candidates, but it was still wonderfully bonkers. There were plenty of harbinger's in the press so Chinners was on the case immediately Zac announced his resignation. Chinners, Howling's Election Agent, really threw himself at the campaign and what's more arranged a victory party at the 'The Triple Crown' with Loony legends 'What's Next' carrying us into the evening. This was a nostalgic taste from years of yore with a traditional loony menu fusing 'rock 'n roll' and politics into a full nights' entertainment. I snuck out on my own for an hour to eat a fabulous curry at the Cafe Masala. I had my usual three vegetarian side dishes with rice and pickles.
There were a lot of big name political journalists at the count including Jon Craig who was rude when I offered him my camera asking if he could take a photo of us, I guess he was busy. Zac was clearly shocked by his result, although his attractive entourage were more sanguine. He is a big celebrity, maybe his team will have more space for a better project, I imagine parliament was quite claustraphobic for those around him.

   
Yvonne Elwood, Flying Brick, Obe'Joyful, Howling Laud, Laud Lawson, Knigel Knapp, Chinners
20th Oct 2016 Counting Agent for The Mad Hatter at the Witney By-election

It was great to finally meet the charming Mad Hatter after our many phone conversations. The Hatter runs themed tours in and around Oxford and is also an active campaigner on political issues, this distinguishes him from lightweights like me. He is Scottish, and travelled home to campaign for Scotland to leave during the Independence Referendum of 2014 and more recently campaigned for the UK to remain part of the European Union. This means he is embraced by the party, not necessarily on his positions, but for being on the losing side!
I stayed at a guest house on Iffley Road in Oxford, which was the worst place I've ever stayed at in this country, and was the Hatter and Chinners' taxi to Witney. We all enjoyed the count at the Windrush Leisure Centre, the 'One Love' Party deserve better results they're young and cool.

 
Hell 'n Bak, Chinners, Flying Brick, Mad Hatter, RU Seerius, Howling, Tom Gullandt-Milner,
23th June 2016 Voted 'Leave' in the EU Referendum

I voted to leave the European Union in the referendum. Not enough people vote in the EU elections and no ordinary voter understands how the EU works. 'The project' appears to be increasingly burdened with an over-bureaucratic and dictatorial executive. There are positive aspects to the EU, for instance, the block has stood up to the large, predatory US companies. But the EU is enslaving the southern countries to poverty and dictating unreasonable terms to them. I do not believe the UK would ever have been able to 'change the EU from the inside' and the direction of travel is wrong. I believe the best way forward is to make a complete break with the EU and I hope the UK can renew our traditional ties with Australia, New Zealand and Canada. However I support the court case by Gina Miller and ensuing legal proceedings. I believe it is very important that the good ship 'Brexit' is kept trim and true with hatches battened down, but we shouldn't throw our courts overboard as we sail through these choppy seas. For that matter I don't have a problem with a second referendum either, as the 'Remainers' have not behaved well in defeat. They are showing the sort of undemocratic behaviour UK citizens associate with Brussels. I believe a second referendum would probably be more emphatic which would be a good thing.

 
16th June 2016 Election Agent for Howling Laud at the Tooting By-election.

I set off to London at 3.45am hoping to have an comfortable run of it, with breakfast on the way, but there were nose to tail lorries on the M1, even at that time, and it wasn't an easy drive. My SatNav later took me through parts of Kensington which was lovely. The elections department was at Wandsworth Council and when I arrived at 8.30 in the morning I stood in full loony regalia with an assortment of people outside what turned out to be the wrong part of the civic buildings. Once inside the moth eaten benefits offices I was directed up the road to the splendid marble bedecked Town Hall, so it was a morning of contrasts.
Helen Lucas, a party supporter, proposed Howling on the nomination form and then we walked around roads in Tooting knocking on doors looking for a further nine signatures.

 
Laud Lawson & Obe'Joyful, Smiley Smillie, Hell 'n Bak, Howling, RU Seerius, Yvonne Elwood, Rainbow George

I arrived at Helen's house just in time to help carry a new mattress upstairs into her flat and later delivered her old one to the Council Tip in Wandsworth. I just squeezed the mattress into my Hyundai Santa Fe and took it on the way back to delivering the nominations. I love visiting tips, and the Wandsworth one was a great experience, it has the design of a multi-storey car park, completely unlike the spacious ones we have in Derbyshire.
Unfortunately I didn't see the 'G' in the electoral register next to some of the people who signed the nomination paper. This symbol was for European citizens who are ineligable to vote in Parliamentary Elections so I had to return to Tooting later in the afternnoon and find three more assenters. It was early evening by the time Howling's papers were accepted, so it had been a long day by the time I had driven back home.

We had a few drinks in the Spread Eagle opposite the Town Hall on the night of the election and rolled into the count in a very upbeat mood expecting to 'win this one, no problem'. However, the mood at the count was very somber, with the murder of Jo Cox overwhelmingly setting the tone. The winning candidate Rosena Allin-Khan had deep empathy with the events in Yorkshire and made a very poignant speech. I guess there are vulnerabilities to public office which are difficult to get genuine insight to when standing on a Loony ticket. On a lighter note we particularly enjoyed the company of Rainbow George and his candidate Smiley Smillie.

 
28th May 2016 Front row seat at the 'Monster Raving Loony' play at Soho Theatre

This was a wonderful and bizarre thing, a play in London about Screaming Lord Sutch. Howling was given some complimentary tickets for a Saturday matinee so I took the train to London and met up the gang at The Nellie Dean having had a quick curry at the Hare Krishna's.
It was an engaging event as Sutchy runs, slumps and jumps through classic twentieth century television shows. There was an odd art house feel as old TV sets flicker historical events at us and then everything halts while we play bingo and participate with pots and pans in a skiffle band. The performance was over all too quickly and before we knew it we had met the cast and were outside blinking in the sunlight.

 
Steve & Joy Lawson, Vivienne Acheampong, Joe Allessi, Jack Brown, Howling, Tom Attwood, Nigel Knapp, Samuel James, Linda Landers, Gregory Clarke, ?, Brick
 
5th May 2016 Candidate & Election Agent for the North Wales Reion of the Welsh Assembly

The count of all the votes cast in the the North Wales region was coordinated by Colin Everett who is Chief Returning Officer for Flintshire County Council. Lynn Phillips the Elections manager thought the results would be declared sometime between 4-6am so, realising it was going to be a late one, I suggested to Johnny Disco and Sir Oink-a-Lot that we meet at Cloleg Cambria Deeside, where the count was taking place, at 2 o'clock in the morning. On arrival it was easy to spot Johnny's van as it has "The Vinyl Countdown" written in bold letters across its side!
The count had a jolly and slightly provinsional atmosphere. I had been a bit worried there might be some hostlity towards us as in reality we were six English candidates standing for North Wales, but there was no need to worry, everyone was very friendly.

 
Sir Oink-A-Lot & Johnny Disco
Sometime between 4-5am all the counting tellers finished their work and the two or three Constituency 'Assembly Members' within Flintshire were directed up to the small stage and declared. There was a lull while the tellers sat in front of empty tables and chatted, then very smoothly they disappeared into the night. Then equally efficiently the tables vanished and most of the counting agents and guests took their leave.
At about six in the morning the massive sports hall had four lone tables pushed together in a square in the middle of it with Colin, Lynne and two or three other council staff valiently propping each other up and round the corner in the other leg of the vast 'L' shaped space were a random assortment including three Loonys, some UKIP, Plaid Camru, and others totalling about fifteen in all. We were waiting for the regional results from Anglesey. When Colin came over at 7.45 he cheerfully suggested that any candidates remaining were welcome to join him on the stage. Lynn told me, as we made our goodbye's, that she had been awake for over twenty six hours!
A peculiarality of this event for me is that I requested, as usual, our 'Top Hat with Vote Loony Printed' emblem but instead we had our 'Party Shield', which includes the Union Jack on the ballot paper. I'm not really a big fan of flags so have always spurned this one. However, possibly as a result of this, North Wales Loonys got the highest votes in all the five regions.
 
13th Apr 2016 The Loony 'Party Election Broadcast' transmitted BBC1 Wales, BBC2 Wales & ITV Wales

The golden rule of Monster Raving Loony Party politics is to always have 'low expectations'. So it was with a considerable amount of surprise that I was told by Martin Forward at the BBC and Nick Powell of ITV Wales that our PEB had passed all the criteria and would be broadcast on the 13th April!

 

 
List of persons nominated from the respective Regional Returning Officers
2016_South_Wales_West_Persons_Nominated.pdf
2016_South_Wales_Central_Persons_Nominated.pdf
2016_South_East_Wales_Persons_Nominated.pdf
2016_Mid_&_West_Wales_Persons_Nominated.pdf
2016_North_Wales_Persons_Nominated.pdf
 
22nd Feb 2016 >>Statement of Accounts for 2015<< to the Electoral Commission.
 
13th Feb 2016 Filming at The Senedd in Cardiff

After Llanwrtyd Wells we all decided that our final round of filming had to be shot in Cardiff at the Senedd. I rang the Welsh Assembly and spoke to Terry Matthews who was extremely helpful. We were all grateful to be inside on the day and not in the cold and drizzle. The staff were friendly and fortunately there were few other visitors so we were able to make a little more commotion than would normally be acceptable. Later a few of us walked into the harbour where there was a great atmosphere as the Six Nations had chosen the same day to stage the rugby match between Wales & Scotland! We met advocates of our 'windmill', 'mermaid' and 'zebra' policies.

 
Mark Beech, Lilly the Pink, Hugo Shovit, Anna-Lisa, Lord & Lady Dunquan, Magpie Bum, Professor Mudraddler, Lord Dia Rea, Lady Perty Rea, Baron von Claptrap
 
16th Jan 2016 Filming in Llanwrtyd Wells
It was chilly, but not unbearable, at Llanwrtyd Wells, I hitched a lift with RU & Helen and we stayed at The Neuadd Arms Hotel which was Lord Sutch's favourite haunt. The photo above was taken in 'Caffi Sosban' where we filmed our 'bog snorkelling' policy and our young voter. We had a walkabout the following day and Bernie, Anna-Lisa and Craig introduced us to local celebrities, John Davies a farmer and owner of the bog-snorkelling trench, and Dougie Lloyd with his riverside garden.  
Lady Lilly the Pink, Mr Pink, Craig, Anna-Lisa, Hell 'n Bak, Karen, RU Seerius, Dale Rowles, Flying Brick
 
3rd Dec 2015 Election Agent for Sir-Oink-A-Lot at the Oldham West & Royton By-election.

What a wonderful finish to 2015. I met our candidate Sir Oink-A-Lot in the car park outside the Civic Centre, Oldham on the 6th November. He collected all but two of the signitures by door knocking in cold relentless drizzle on Chadderton Park Road. He's obviously far friendlier looking as it took me as long to get the last two as it took him to collect the first eight!

 

 
Left photo: Dale Rowles, Karen Van Woerden, Tony & Julie Stacey, Marc 'Hands' Jones, Hell 'n Bak, Sir Oink, Johnny Disco, Chinners, Howling, Paul Nuttall
An excellent night although we were lucky that the pub closed so early as the count finished and the election was declared at 1.30am, we could have missed it!
 
15th Oct 2015 - Liaising with the BBC & Electoral Commission
Laurence, my contact at the BBC, kindly found the contact details for Tabby Karamat in 'Politics Editorial Policy', who in turn directed me to Martin Forward 'Planning Manager' for BBC Wales.
I spoke to Robert Coombs 'Senior Political Parties Liaison Officer' for the The Electoral Commission in Wales who was very helpful and confirmed everything Mark Beech had advised about eligibility for a Party Election Broadcast. The authorities were informed of our intent!
 
25th Sep 2015 Loony Conference at Uncle Tom's Cabin, Blackpool

When Howling declared we were to have our conference at Blackpool RU & I decided he must have gone mad. But it was the best one ever! Uncle Tom's Cabin was the perfect venue and our man in Blackpool Tony Davis hired a bus and drove us round a Wetherspoons pub crawl on the Saturday afternoon. A lot of us stayed at Simon & Rhona's 'New Guilderoy Hotel' who were not only very hospitable but also joined in the tour and cabinet reshuffle.

Lady Lily the Pink and Anna-Lisa encouraged their friend Craig Tompkins to drive them up to the conference with his movie camera. We shot our first footage for our 'Party Election Broadcast' in front of a large backdrop of a library in the front room of the hotel. A few weeks later Craig sent the footage taken at the 'New Guildroy Hotel' at our Blackpool Conference to Gordon Vowles, a party supporter and editing maestro based in London. Gordon composed a draft edit of a PEB with a quirky angle that everyone thought was great so it was all steam ahead.

 
Tony Davis
We hatch a plan to qualify for a 'Party Election Broadcast' in the Welsh Assembly Elections
The Loony Party have long aspired to qualify for the 'holy grail' of a 'Party Election Broadcast'. There is always a lot of talk at Monster Raving Loony Party conferences, often over a few pints, and the idea of achieving a PEB is one of the many pipe dreams that we have loved to speculate about. Fortunately we have among our number Mark Beech who grasped the mettle and did a bit of research. Mark proposed the idea of submitting enough candidates to the Welsh Assembly to qualify the Loonys for a Party 'Election Broadcast' in Wales. He had stood in the Welsh Assembly Elections as a regional candidate, with his friend Pinkandorevil Gem in 2011 and spent a little time finding out how many we needed to stand, and where, and how much it would cost.
There are sixty seats in the Welsh Assembly. Forty are constituency seats elected in the same way as the UK parliament. The other twenty 'regional seats' are made up of four seats in each of the five regions. A £500 deposit is required to stand up to 12 candidates in each region (although only four can be elected). As long as we stood four or more candidates within all five regions we would qualify for a Party Election Broadcast. We are comparitively strong in Wales, and Mark and I decided to give it our best shot. Lady Lily the Pink, Baron Von Claptrap and Alun Magpie Bum agreed to be Election Agents for Mid Wales, South West Wales and South East Wales, Mark chose to organise South wales Central, his previous patch, and I opted for North Wales.
 
7th May 2015 Candidate at Doncaster North in the General Election

>>Read about my policies in Doncaster North<<
This was my fifth General Election, but the first away from Derbyshire Dales. I felt it was time for me to stand against a 'big gun'. My choice locally was Nick Clegg in Sheffield or Ed Milliband in Doncaster. I chose Milliband as I thought, incorrectly as it turned out, that every man and his dog would be standing against Nick Clegg.
I drove up the M1 to Doncaster on the 2nd of April and collected all ten signitures entirely from Frank Road, DN59SY, within an hour. What a friendly street!

 

 
Susie Lomax, Dr Doodle Do, Lady Tax-a-Lot, Flying Brick, RU Seerius, Hell 'n Bak, Lady Table Manners, Leon of Britain, Sir Tax-a-Lot

I handed my nomination papers in to Keith Porter Electoral Services Manager, who is a very well spoken gentleman. He used to be the returning officer in Margaret Thatcher's constituency Finchley and said he had met Lord Sutch several times.
The night of the count was a marvellous occasion and I had an excellent group of supporters. We made our customary loud entrance to the counting hall and this was covered by The Telegraph among others.
At the end of the night at about 5.30am I was asked very politely if I wouldn't mind standing at the very end of the stage for the declaration, but I forgot. Poor Ed Milliband's party were having a rotten night and he looked quite glum, I on the other night was extremely pleased with my 162 votes and was feeling quite cheerful.

 

>>'Nick the Flying Brick Vows to save the country from Red Ed' in The Sun<<
>>Loony candidate arrives at Doncaster count on ITV 7th May<<
>>Video clip on ITV 7th May<<
>>Video Clip on Telegraph 7th May<<
>>Disappointment and joy in the British elections in (Dutch) NRC Handelsblad 8th May<<
>>2015's Weirdest Candidates: A Guide To 'The Also Rans' in Huffington Post<<
>>Lost_Election_Deposits_in The_Mirror_20th_Jun_2015<<

 

27th Apr 2015 >>Re-elected_Kirk_Ireton_Parish_Council<<

 
Apr 2015 I asked the BBC to display our colours in their political broadcasts.

It's always a pleasure to see the party name on BBC news, but this has always been slightly marred by by being framed in greyness. The BBC have always displayed our hopefuls in elections with a grey tab among the other red, blue, orange, purple and green candidates. I rang the BBC about this issue in early 2015 and spoke to Laurence Coss in 'Information & Archives' who raised my query with 'News'. I received an email from the BBC on the 15th April saying that "The basic point is that we have colours for parties that have some record of winning elections or at least coming close to winning them. That can be local, Mayoral, European, Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish or general elections."
After a discussion with Howling I argued that we have had a Town Mayor, and at present have District Councillor and several Parish councillors and was rung by Peter Barnes on the 21st April 2015 while I was 'Lester Lowes' my local agricultural and builder merchants in Derbyshire, where it's quite noisy. Peter said that it was impossible to change anything for the General Election but seemed to think it might be possible to introduce colours for the smaller parties in by-elections. He said the BBC take their lead from the 'Press Association'. I didn't get very far with the Press Association who just tried to tap me for a story!

 
 
5th Feb 2015>>Statement of Accounts for 2014<< to the Electoral Commission.
 
9th Oct 2014 Election Agent for Howling Laud at the Clacton By-election.

I will never trust my sat-nav again, as it took me right down the M1 and around the M25 to Clacton-on-Sea, a truly appalling route. I set off at just after 5am and arrived at the Town Hall at 10am. Fortunately, once there, a quick trot round Alexandra and Meredith Road, a stones throw from the Town Hall, got me the ten nominations for Howling, and I was on the way back home at 1pm.
The count was another classic night. I was filmed by Sky News, with Howling, trying to convince Douglas Carswell to cross the floor to the Loony Party and later had my photo taken with Lembit Öpik and Norman Smith.

 

 
 
26th Sep 2014 Loony Conference at The Ridgebourne Inn, Llandrindod Wells

This was the 30th Loony Party conference and the first one held in Wales. The Ridgebourne Inn was a warm, welcoming place and Llandrindod Wells is a regal town with a certain faded glamour, a bit like the Loony Party really. Gripper and the Gurnards had been renamed 'Buster and the Gonads' and we played on Saturday night with Knigel Knapp, Dale and Molly singing for us, replacing Nick who was taking his daughter to the zoo. Later the Captain showed some of his extraordinary powers of communication, when he spoke through my shoe to the Queen of England.

 

 
Lord Cameron, Johnny Disco, Lord Offa of the Dykes, The Captain, Gripper
 
5th Jun 2014 Candidate in the Newark By-election

It had been over three years since I had stood as a candidate in a by-election so I leapt at the chance when Howling suggested I should do it as it was on my patch. My nominations came from Hatton Gardens and Milner Street and I had my first one, from Ian, within two minutes of parking my car.
I had an interview with Alan Clifford on Radio Nottingham on the 27th May. On Monday the 2nd of June I was interviewd by Chris Mason from the BBC and filmed by Channel 4 News in the Newark Town market place which was aired that night. I used my studio to record my one minute election address and this was aired on Radio Nottingham around the 3rd of June.

 

 
RU Seerius, Karen van Woerden, Howling Laud, The Flying Brick, Aloysia ‘Kim-Oh-No’ Carnell, Helen Bak, Dale Rowles, Jason Fotidar

 

The election count was held in the fabulous Kelham Hall and the acting returning officer Andrew Muter ran a seamless event with a fantastic atmosphere and bar! At about 2am the atmosphere became electric when Nigel Farage made a rock star’s entrance and Howling and I swiftly formed a strategy of ambush. Our plan worked and the picture with story was published in The Metro newspaper on the 6th June.
I spent some time back pedaling when talking to Paul Baggaley; a highly successful local campaigner for Newark Hospital. He latched onto my pledge, if elected, of becoming the Newark Town Football Club mascot. He turned out to be the Newark Football club chairman and was worringly keen on this policy! Paul achieved a staggering 1,891 votes beating the Greens and Liberal Democrats.
I came seventh out of eleven beating Andy Hayes, Bus-Pass Elvis Party, Common Good and the Patriotic Socialist Party.

>>Loony Funding Crisis report in Buzzfeed 6th June<<
>>Lembit Opik calls for my resignation report by the BBC 6th June<<
>>Castle's the Loony launch pad Newark Advertiser 4th June<<
>>Story in the Newark Advertiser 15 May<<
>>Story in the Newark Advertiser 27 Jun<<

 
 
1st May 2014 Monster Mash Launch at Winchester
One of Howling's greatest strengths is his ability to talk otherwise sane and rational people into the Loony Party team. Derrill Carr, a micro brewery representative, was sucked into the inner Loony party machinery in June 2013. Alan and Derrill hatched a plan to rebrand the finest local beers in Hampshire under a Loony Party 'Co-ALE-ition' brand. Derrill is a man of boundless energy and business acumen and the Loony Party have been transformed overnight from a one cylinder putt putt engine to a V8.
The first four of the Co-ALE-ition beers had the 2010 Election photo of David Cameron raising Howling's victorious hand as the pump-clip theme. For the fifth, Monster Mash, the Loony cabinet were included in the pump-clip and I was given the task of compiling the image in Photoshop.


 

 
Knigel Knapp, Baron Von Thunderclap, Howling Laud, Chinners, Flying Brick, RU Seerius
On the 1st of May Co-ALE-ition was launched at the Mash Brewery at Burcot Farm near East Stratton and we moved from there to the Fulflood Arms, where this photo was taken, and then onto The Albion, both in Winchester. I travelled down with RU Seerius and Hell 'n Back and stayed at The King Alfred. What a great night, what great beer.
 
23rd Feb 2014 Toby Jug's expulsion from the Party
The Loony Party embraces theatrical displays of aggrandisement, it is all part of the fun. But while Toby Jug is adept at playing the media he unfortunately suffers from self-importance and is delusional. In the years up to 2014 he took to declaring himself to be the obvious leader of the party while at the same time vitriolically and aggresively attacking Howling and the rest of us. He has a habit of upsetting people. I've always thought that the Loony Party has echoes of an amateur dramatic group. Toby is like the over-enthusiastic ham actor with no insight into the feelings of everyone else in the group or sense of irony. We eventually became fed up, all mutually agreed, and formerly expelled him.
 
13th Feb 2014 Election Agent for Captain Chaplington-Smythe at Wythenshawe & Sale East By-election.
I got off to a bit of an embarrassing start when I rang the Manchester Electoral Office asking for the date of the by-election only a few hours after Paul Goggins had died. This wasn't intentionally callous; since the loss of Mad Cow Girl and Johnny Cartwright there is no-one in the Loony Party who is keenly watching out for by-elections and they are easily missed. When I received a text from Howling in Malta, on the 7th of January, telling me about a by-election in Wythenshawe I naturally assumed I was late and rang the elections office in a panic!  

 
Andy Cameron, Howling Laud, Flying Brick, Emma Chapman, Captain Chaplington-Smythe, Johnny Disco / Mike Kane
It was the same team in the Town Hall who ran the Manchester Central by-election in November 2012, so I was pleased to have easy access to them as the Labour Party didn't dawdle in issuing the writ. When the writ was issued on the 21st of January for nominations in by the 28th it was immediately clear that Howling would be unable to stand as he didn't get back from holiday in Malta until the 30th!
Andy Cameron and John 'Horatio' Horner had been Counting Agents at the Manchester Central by-election a year before, and they suggested Captain Chaplington-Smythe as the Loony candidate with their local pub The Crown Inn as the headquarters for the campaign. On the 28th January I dropped the kids off to nursery, drove up and met Andy, we collected the register of electors from the Town Hall, and went on to the The Crown. Andy had been amazingly organised and a stream of nominators flowed through the door and we had all our signatures, and a couple of spare, by midday.
The Count was held in a very comfortable side room at the GMex Centre and was a very civilised and pleasant affair. The Labour candidate Mike Kane looked tired but was friendly and enjoyed a joke with The Captain. The Captain was carrying a small plastic Darth Vader which made occasional profound utterances such as "Your lack of faith disturbs me," which went down well with the journalists.
At the end of the night Howling and I went back to the Britannia Hotel, and shared a can of lager with the UKIP leadership, who were a lot more livelier at 3.30am than me, what stamina!
 
4th Mar 2014 >>Statement of Accounts for 2013<< to the Electoral Commission.
 
27th Sep 2013 Loony Conference at The Pavilion, Matlock Bath

My old friend Dale Rowles transformed The Pavillion for the Steampunk and Loony 'Illuminati' There was speculation that many of the steampunk enthuisiasts would embrace Loony but in the event it was the Loonys who went steampunk. I now have a lovely pair of yellow and black goggles adorning my top hat. Gripper & the Gurnards headlined on the Friday night which was fun, and I think we played well. I had to fix the wardrobe I borrowed from the Fleet Arts Centre as we had a cabinet collapse during the reshuffle on Saturday afternoon. It was soon after the Cabinet Reshuffle that Dave Savage appeared at The Fishpond. He attended Howlings speech on a spacehopper and then disappeared again as if transported by inter-dimensional portal. At the same time Charin from Bradford briefly materialised, it was great to see him, that was my favourite by-election of all time.

 
Chinners, Howling, Mary, Sir Nos Da, Dave Savage, Knigel Knapp, Lord Offa, Chris, Tony Davis
 
2nd May 2013 Election Agent for Howling Laud at South Shields By-election

This was one of my finer efforts at securing Howling a by-election. I needn't have worried about by old Jeep Cherokee making the trip as I set off at half five in the morning, it ate the motorway up. I arrived at South Shields Town Hall at just after nine on the 17th of April and was collecting signatures by door knocking at ten. The Lonnen was freezing cold and enormous seagulls swooped around my top hat. It took longer than expected to collect the ten signatures as many of the dwellings were furnished but uninhabited. A sprightly ninety-year-old ex-miner told me that a lot of them were second homes 'for the benefits'. I can't help wondering how many Lonnen's are up and down the country. The senior elections officer Joanne Gelson was very helpful when I returned to the Town Hall and I was out and back off down the road by one o'clock and back to Derbyshire by 4pm.
I hitched a lift with RU, Helen and Guinness, their dog, for the election night, a far more relaxing way to travel. During the election run-up the Guardian had published a critical and unfair letter about UKIP written by Toby Jug. I've always enjoyed UKIP's company at by-elections and felt sad about the frustration UKIP felt towards us about it. Apart from this the night was great fun, and exciting too, as we all thought we might beat the Liberals, what delusions!

 
Toby Jug, Hel 'n bak, Flying Brick, Howlin Laud, RU Seerius, Cardinal Max at the Temple Park Leisure Centre
 
22nd Mar 2013 >>Statement of Accounts for 2012<< to the Electoral Commission.
 
28th Feb 2013 Counting Agent for Howling Laud at Eastleigh By-election

Eastleigh is an easy train ride from Derby and the Wagon Works, our headquarters, was right opposite the railway station. There was a very diverse crowd of political campaigners in the pub including a researcher for Elizabeth Truss.
It was a big night with a lot of media interest, we hung out with UKIP, the Wessex Regionalists, Christian and Peace parties. At the end of the night all the candidates were given the chance for a speech by the Returning Officer and Howling sang 'Mack the Knife'.
I think we were all a bit surprised to be beaten by the 'Beer, Fags & Crumpets' Party but I guess that's the rough and tumble of politics.

 
Flying Brick (wearing new hat), David, Kirsten, Sue Sneden, Damon Heritage, Alan Sneden, Howlin Laud, Toby Jug, Debby
 
15th Nov 2012 Election Agent for Howling Laud at Manchester Central By-election
I had a sinking feeling looking through the electoral register at 11am on the 30th of October. I was sitting in The Smithfield Hotel with Peter Hinchliffe, a journalist and blogger from Rochdale. I couldn't make sense of the register for the surrounding area or even find any local roads. I truly believed, for the first time, that I would not be able to find the nominations before my appointment at the Council Offices at 3:00pm later that day.
Over the years I have learnt that older folk are far more willing to nominate a loony so I asked Peter to 'take me to the pensioners'. He drove me to Romney Street in Moston where I collected all the signitures, in drizzle, by knocking on doors in about twenty minutes, a record for me I think!
Against our expectations the count in the G-Mex Centre was a subdued and dismal occasion and I left and lost my hat in a taxi when we returned to The Smithfield in the early hours of the morning.
 
29th Sep 2012 Loony Conference at The White Hart Hotel, Uttoxeter

We were invited to run our conference at The White Hart in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire by Jade and her partner who had moved there after managing our previous venue The Links Hotel, Fleet, Hampshire. In between inviting us and our conference in September, however, they were moved to manage another hotel back in the home counties so we never saw them!
On the Friday night I was on bass with Horse on drums, Gripper on guitar and Nick Davis singing in our band Gripper and the Gurnards. Dale Rowles finished the night with his steampunk band BB Black Dog. Dale organised our 2013 Loony party conference at The Pav, Matlock Bath.

 
Loony Party parliamentary candidates - Howling Laud, Tony Davis, Nigel Knapp, Baron Von Thunderclap, Lord Offa, RU Seerius, Mark Beech, Flying Brick
 
30th Jul 2012 Sam 'Thing death
I had known Sam since the mid nineties, he was a great guy an a good friend. He stood for Amber Valley in the 2010 General Election and came to numerous by-elections as a Counting Agent. He died from a heart attack in Belgium, driving back from watching one of his favourite bands 'A' playing at the Greenville festival in Germany.
 
29th Mar 2012 Election Agent for Howling Laud at the Bradford West By-election

Charin Slaphead Singh and William Wagstaff made Bradford West an exceptionally fine by-election. Charin is an IT wizard and is the owner of Art of Technology, he was Wild Willi Beckett's Electoral Agent when Wild Willi stood for the Loony Party in Bradford during the 1980's. William Wagstaff is the landlord and owner of our headquarters The New Beehive, 171, Westgate, BD1 3AA. Charin contacted Howling before the by-election and I met him at The New Inn on the 13th March immediately after picking up the nomination papers from the Town Hall.
Charin is an amazing guy and opted to drive me around Bradford to various friends' houses and places of work to collect signatures. My Dad is from the Yorkshire Dales so it was great to see the city. One of our nomination signatures was from Charin's solicitor!
Howling spent three weeks campaigning from his base at The New Inn so when Sam'Thing and I turned up for the election night he assured us of success over George Galloway.
There was an electric atmosphere as we entered the Richard Dunn Sports Centre. Charin organised a serenade to George as he entered the hall and George spent the rest of the night avoiding us! What a great night.

 
?, ?, Charin, Flying Brick, Howling Laud, RU Seerius, HelenBak, ?, William Wagstaff
 
25th Feb 2012 >>Statement of Accounts for 2011<< to the Electoral Commission.
 
5th May 2011 Election Agent for Howling Laud at the Leicester South By-election

This was the second time I had been the Election Agent in Leicester South, the first time had been for RU Seerius in 2004. I found most of the nominations fairly quickly by standing outside the Post Office in Aylestone.
The count was held late afternoon on Friday, which was the day after the election. It was held on the first floor in a room with a very low ceiling at the Rugby Club. I had trouble wearing my hat. We had a good group of counting agents including Chris Fender Black, the photo was taken outside the rugby club main entrance.

 
Chris Fender Black, ?, Julie Hopkins, Toby Jug, Howling Laud, Flying Brick, Viscount Biscuit, ?, HelenBak, RU Seerius
8th Apr 2011 Elected uncontested to Kirk Ireton Parish Council

I was elected unapposed to Kirk Ireton Parish Council in April 2011, this is my letter of confirmation from Derbyshire Dales District Council. >>2011_Derbyshire_Dales_confirm_Election_8_Apr<<

 
 
15th Mar 2011 >>Statement of Accounts for 2010<< to the Electoral Commission.
 
3rd Mar 2011 Election Agent for Howling Laud at the Barnsley Central By-election

Barnsley is a nice easy drive up the M1 for me. The Barnsley Electortal Offices were in a inconspicuous, run down office block, at Acorn Phase 3 Industrial Estate, Grindthorpe. My SatNav found it easily but I couldn't believe it had found the correct address.
The count was held at the Metrodome and was exceptional for having a bar where we all enjoyed quaffing a few ales with the UKIP leadership.

 
Howling Laud, Nigel Farage, Tony Davis & local loony Tom Dean
 
14th Jan 2011 Entrant in Britain's Got Talent
On 14th Jan 2011 I performed with nine ladies, including my wife Lizzie, in front of three celebrity judges on the Opera House stage in Manchester. This was after just three hours sleep as I had spent the previous night at the Oldham by-election count.

In early 2010, after many years of inactivity, Hot Pot Theatre restarted the synchronised supermarket shopping trolley routine with the intention of applying to Britain's Got Talent.

 

 
 
During the summer we waltzed through 'Moon River' at Belper music festival (see photo) and at Maggie Braley's birthday party at the rugby club. Maggie is the visionary of the group and had conceived the trolley dance in 1999 when we performed caberet and pantomimes at the Fleet Arts centre.
I recorded then sent them the Moon River showreel and a promotional flyer compiled by Maggie, with the application, to the TV show in November. Adam O'Neill phoned from BGT to say we had by-passed the initial round and were selected to go on stage in Manchester.
We were asked to arrive at the Museum of Science and Industry, in Manchester, at 9:00am. I stayed close by at the Hôtel Campanile having driven there at 4am from the election in Oldham. I was in black tie as I walked to the Museum, which was quite different from the loony attire I had been wearing a few hours earlier. The trolleys had been safely delivered in Nick's van and we all met and were all ready for action. We then waited for hours in a holding area, in an upper floor of the Museum, which was not dissimilar to an bucket-jet airport lounge while a dog and Sailor Pig attracted most of the BGT show cameras. It was an interesting place, with a curious mix of people, most were young some were old, a lot had delusional hopes of success and then there were a few who were just there for a laugh. There were quite a number who were obviously BGT cannon fodder, purely invited to be publicaly humiliated. When as a group we started to see them we began to worry about which catagory we fell into.
 

At about 3pm we were whisked by minibus to the Opera House and were led through a labyrinth of stairs and corridors deep into its bowels and directly under the stage. This was a disturbing place as the cacophonic 'No' buzzers and deafening baying of the crowd left no illusion to the bear pit we were about to enter.
Our turn was chaotic, we had to follow the rules and walk on stage to present our act. We had chosen Haydee and she spoke eloquently to the judges.

 

 
 

After we had walked off stage it took us time to help the ladies into the trolleys. We were only ready to perform after Ant and Dec had helped us lift the trolleys over some large electrical cables. It probably took sixty seconds, which was too long for the the crowded Manchester Opera House, so we rolled onto the stage to the thunderous sound of an angry audience stamping its feet.
Our syncronised dance to 'Moon River' by Henry Mancini is a slow and ethereal waltz and the BGT friday afternoon audience were truculent and feisty. The foot stomping that started as we were preparing behind the curtains swiftly became a brutal chant of "OFF OFF OFF" as soon as we were on stage. Michael Mcintyre buzzed us a big red X however Amanda Holden and David Hasselhoff let us perform our piece and after we had finished had clearly enjoyed our act. In the broadcasted "producer's cut" the audience's foot stomping and baying were removed and replaced with warm enthusiastic applause.

 

 
I had spoken about my Britain's Got Talent entry in the interview with Tony Livesey on Radio 5 Live the previous night at the by-election in Oldham. The Sun printed >>this article<< in Colin Robertson's TV Biz on the following day Saturday 15th January. This is the same article published online.
We were voted through to the next round so we received an A4 sheet >>BGT The Next Stage<<. We were encouraged through sporadic phone calls to prepare another 'audition piece' and led to believe we were likely to perform it in front of the judges in London. Unfortunately our act hit the editing room floor and we were never given the opportunity to perform Space.
The Sun made >>another story<< when we were dropped which was funny although disheartening for the rest of the group. I was somewhat 'pimped-up' by the Sun. This is the same article published online.
 

Lizzie's version of the events!
We had skirted the tedious first round, attended by more mundane and less organised acts, by sending in a DVD of Moon River - now also placed on You Tube for our growing fan base's pleasure. As such we were escalated to the dizzy heights of performing in the Manchester Opera House, in front of a live, and somewhat fiesty audience as well as the 3 judges in January. We arrived eager and champing at the shoppng trolley bit, but were forced like the seemingly hundreds of other acts to wait around for most of the day doing; very little. Whilst "Penny the magic card trick performing dog", "Sailor Pig" and various Middle Aged clog dancing "performers" seemed to attract most of the pre-performance interview time and limelight! Our time eventually came however and despite some shockingly misleading and again shambolic stage management and direction, performed Moon River for the first time, on stage, to the nation. During this majestic and ethereal revelation, the less discerning members of the audience (from now on to be referred to as the "baying mob") seemed to tire and even disapprove of our talents and, the least discerning of the judges "MM"- apparently a well known and even amusing comedian- even had the nerve to "buzz" us a no!!! Undaunted however and as majestic as ever we continued and finished the performance with an artistic flourish, lacking in most, well all of the other acts.
The two remaining judges, clearly of a far greater calibre and talent recognising ability were then to judge us. The lovely Amanda Holden said despite SOME of the crowd's reaction she had thoroughly enjoyed our act and gave us an unequivocal YES!!! Then the legendary David Haselhoff (better known to those of my generation as Michael Knight) had the casting vote. There was some delay in his answer and remarks to the tone of "Oh my God this is truly why I came to England", but after a few winks from the bathing suited beauties, of course, how could he have given us anything other than; a YES!!!! And so; we thought, according to the so called "rules" we were THROUGH to the next round. >>Certificate we received<<
We then rethought and restruitured our second and entirely different, quicker paced, more vibrant, more fantastical and altogether more spacey routine, again thanks largely to the genius of Maggie. The rest of the story is not a happy one. Despite being ready for launch on various of the initial dates set for the next round in London, when it came to 3 days before the final date in April we were contacted and told we were out. As our fans can see, if not on national TV in the coming weeks, but on You tube and this website, the fact that we were voted out from our Moon River performance is perhaps only second in tragic nature to our not being able to perform "Space" in front of the judges , again a live audience, the nation, and ultimately the Queen. Luckily perhaps she, the Queen, can get some solace from a happily married off grandson in view of being deprived the most unusual, beautiful and imaginative performance at the Royal Variety show this summer, perhaps...

 

These were the stories published in The Sun

>>Article in the Sun Britain's Dropped Talent<<
>>Same Article in The Sun, but online<<

>>Article in The Sun 11 Apr 'Off your Trolleys'<<
>>Same Article in The Sun, but online<<

>>Article in The Sun 15 Jan By-election Loony get's Hoff's vote at BGT audition<<
>>Same Article in The Sun, but online<<

>>. . . . and even more prestigiously - our article in Belper News<<

 

History of HotPot and trolley dancing
We started in 1999 as a community arts theatre group to continue the tradition of the Fleet Arts annual panto. Nobody can remember if there was a 'eureka' moment when someone in HotPot thought of 'synchronised supermarket shopping trolley dancing', or whether it was collectively invented, but the visionary of our theatre group was Maggie Braley and there is no doubt it is, and we are, a figment of Maggie's imagination. The trolley dances were first performed in a night of Cabaret at Fleet Arts in March 1999. We asked for and were lent the trolleys by Safeway supermarket who have since been swallowed by Morrisons. They were robust trolleys and seemed to embrace their new life, frequently displaying determination to take the team in their own unique direction.
We received funding in 1999 from East Midlands Arts towards "Bugs Away", where the 'Millennium Bug', villainously played by Haydee, poured green goo into Santa's pixie making machine. We followed this the next year with the sequel 'Grot around the Clock' and the Millennium Bug and her disgusting sidekick Grotkins messed with Father Time and his Great Universal Clock. Maggie left the group to work full time for Junction 29 Nell and I mostly co-wrote the final Panto called "Groundfarce" in 2001. The plot centred around the evil Alan Titbog and his dastardly cohort Cillerella and their conspiracy to deck the Secret Garden. After Groundfarce we ran out of steam and stored the trolleys and Panto props deep within the Fleet Arts cellars where they remained until 2009.

 
13th Jan 2011 Candidate in the Oldham East & Saddleworth By-election

Oldham was the second time I had stood in a by-election. Howling couldn't do it as he was taking his annual leave in Malta.
All my nominations came from regulars at the Hanging Gate, Diggle. the landlord Dave Bradbury kindly pointed them out in the electoral register of the surrounding streets. I had picked the register up on the 20th of December 2010 at 10:30am, been first through his doors later that morning and by midday was strolling around stone terraces surrounded by open views of the moorlands collecting signatures.
At 3:00pm I handed my completed papers in to Justine at Oldham Council and at the same time met the Labour Party Electoral Agent and Paul Nuttall the candidate for UKIP, who were also handing in theirs. My main policy at this election was 'to introduce soft furnishings to the elections reception in the Oldham Civic Centre' as it was one of the bleakest rooms I've ever seen

 
Photo taken at the count with, Helen 'Bak, The Flying Brick, SamThing, Tony Davis, Lord and Lady Tourette's, RU Seerius
 

I was interviewed on the 10th of January in the Uppermill Park by Claire Ashworth who had also interviewed me three years earlier when I stood at Crewe. I was just recovering from a cold and the weather was perishing. It's a good thing the footage has disappeared as I looked shifty and like a corpse. Claire interviewed Militant Elvis at the same time, we were a charmless pair.

I had two local newspaper articles written about me Report by Lewis Jones 21st Dec 2010 in the Oldham Evening Chronicle and Report by Stuart Greer 21st Dec 2010 in the Oldham Advertiser

The count was held in The Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Civic Centre, which was a great venue. Bananaman had been in Oldham campaigning for me for two days before the count without even telling me, that's probably why I achieved such a respectable vote. The press had a large balcony and in the early hours of the morning I was invited to join Tony Livesey on Radio 5 Live round a table with Hazel Blears and others. This is my >>Interview with Tony Livesey on 5 Live in the media enclosure at the Count<<.

I came seventh polling 145 votes beating the English Democrats, Pirate, and Bus-Pass Elvis Partys.

 
4th Jul 2010 Mad Cow Girl's death
I don't fully understand why Roz decided to take her own life but she had been suffering with depression for a long time. She had suggested she was thinking of suicide to me and others over the course of the previous couple of years, but it is a hard subject to engage with in conversation. She was in debt and told me she was declared bankrupt soon after the Haltemprice election and had also left her job as an Intesive care nurse on mental health grounds. She had posted this explanation on her website >>The Final Straw<< in March 2009.
I drove with RU to Roz's funeral which was at 11:00am on Friday the16th of July at Sunderland Crematorium. Afterwards we went to the wake at her friend Jean's house, where Roz had been a lodger in her attic. Dennis Warner, Roz's brother attended and was very good company. He cycles great distances to remote places. There was also a friendly and eccentric group from the 2CV owners club.
Swim down into the darker depths of family history and you find little remains of those who have gone. Much of the pleasure of being in the Loony Party, for me, is the pure and lazy narcissim of easy publicity. I hope in two or three hundred years there may be a little left to be still found of me embedded in the Loony vaults for one of my descendants to discover. This might be over optimistic as I see that Roz's story seems to be fading fast, her website has already vanished and there is no credible archive.
Jean asked Neil Cook to take charge of Roz's computer and he kindly sent me the security details for www.omrlp.com which had been given to her by Boney in October 2008.
 
6th May 2010 General Election

I was interviewed with RU on the 19th Apr 2010, by German reporter Alexei Makartsev from the 'Rheinische Post' at The Old Kings Head, Belper.
A few days later I was interviewed with RU Seerius and Sam 'Thing also in the Kings Head, by Radio Derby >> Link to the audio of the interview<<


 

 
The three candidates in Derbyshire Sam 'Thing, RU Seerius & Flying Brick outside The Old Kings Head, Belper before we went to our respective counts

The Ashbourne News, which is published weekly, ran three pieces around the General Election, the first two had submissions from the candidates:
>>Ashbourne News' Weds April 21st 2010<< - I addressed the problem of Ashbourne babies being born at Derby City Hospital making them all Down'Ards at the Shrovetide Football match.
>>Ashbourne News' Weds May 5th 2010<< - I encouraged the Valhalla District Council to implement the smoking ban in the 'Vikings Horn', Eyjafjallajökull, where Odin was rumoured to have been puffing gently on his pipe causing significant disruption to European air traffic.
>>Ashbourne News' Weds May 12th 2010<< - Which gave an account of the election night.

 
Lizzie, Colin Swindell, Helen (Labour Candidate), ?, Flying Brick, Lord Tourettes
 
5th Feb 2010 >>Statement of Accounts for 2009<< to the Electoral Commission.
 
25th Sep 2009 Loony Party Conference
The Party Conference at The Raven Hotel, Fleet had none other than headlining guest Adam Ant with a legendary performance of all his classics, an incredible night.
 
19th Aug 2009 Bought the domain name www.loonyparty.com
I bid and bought the domain name www.loonyparty.com in an online auction by NameJet for $261- (£164.08) using party funds.
 
23rd Jul 2009 Election Agent for Howling Laud at the Norwich North By-election

The Norwich North by-election was at a hectic time for me as I was married to Lizzie in Kirk Ireton Church five days before on the 18th of July. I drove to Norwich first thing in the morning on the 7th of July, arriving at the Elections office in Thorpe St Andrew to pick up the nomination papers when they were opening. When you're trying to collect signatures which have to tally with the electoral register it's far easier to focus on a small area and pull out the small parts of the register associated with that area, in this instance I got all my signatures from HL2 and HK2 which were drinkers and their friends from pubs along Yarmouth Road.
On the Norwich by-election hustings Howling Laud was filmed by author David Lalé for his, as yet, unreleased documentary of the Loony Party.
The count was held at 9:00am on Friday morning, the day after polling, in a fabulous beautifully draped tent, with chandeliers. It was at the Royal Norfolk Showground and called 'Walstans Hall'. This was the first time I had attended a count in the broad light of day, it made a refreshing change, as I wasn't tired. During the count I wandered outside into the sunshine where I walked up to and introduced myself to Theresa May who was sitting on her own, with paperwork, at an outside table. She looked a bit concerned as I approached her so I mentioned a mutual acquaintance who I had been at college with. After establishing that I wasn't an axe murder and acknowledging me she dropped her head down and continued with her work.
Imwyeddon, Howling and I appeared as one of the Wall Street Journal's Pictures of the day'.

 
 
18th Jul 2009 Marriage to Lizzie

I only put my Loony Hat on briefly during speeches on the lawn of The Beehive to deliver a poem:
There was a Lizzie Flat Five
The most beautiful girl alive
Sent me in a spin
Truby stepped in
And now we're wed, and at the Beehive

 
Richard Delves, Matt Connell, The Flying Brick, Lizzie, Robin Delves, Janet Delves, Top Hat, Fraggle, ?
5th Mar 2009 >>Statement of Accounts for 2008<< to the Electoral Commission.
 
4th Oct 2008 Boney's contining refusal to rescind control of www.omrlp.com
By October 2008 everyone in the Loony Party were fed up of Boney's continuing control of our domain name www.omrlp.com. I had spoken to her a couple of times and written emails requesting that she release the access details but she was adamant in her refusal to do so and worse had posted this page on the website. >>Boney's antagonistic webpage<<
After consulting Howling and other Loony notables I opted to go for a heavier approach and sent her this letter >>Letter to Boney 4th Oct 2008<<
It did the trick and Boney released the username and password details to Roz who pointed the domain to our new webspace although she refused to give the access details to any of the rest of us
 
10th Jul 2008 Election Agent for Mad Cow Girl at the Haltemprice & Holden By-election
By-elections are like buses; you don't get one for ages then they all arrive at once. The week before I went to support Bananaman at Henley I drove north to Hull. I was the Election Agent for Mad Cow Girl in the Haltemprice & Holden by-election and I spent a few hours in the morning and early afternoon collecting nomination signatures in Cottingham. This was followed by a dash to the council offices in Beverley where I kept an appointment to submit Mad Cow Girl's nominations and the five hundred pounds in cash.
Roz surprised all the rest of the Loony Party's active membership by opposing David Davis with a platform of support for the governments proposed bill of forty-two day detention. There was a semblance of political debate within the party, for the only time I can remember, which gently concluded with a collective 'what the hell' and a shrug of the shoulders.
There was a record of twenty-six candidates standing so the Loonys along with the other candidates were only allocated two counting agents. Roz and I were allowed a partner each so Howling came as Roz's partner and I took Yvonne Elwood who was Lord Sutch's partner. The two counting agents were Bananaman and Eddie Vee the Yorkshire Elvis.
The count was at the Haltemprice Leisure Centre so we all met up at 'The Beech Tree', which was conveniently over the road. David Bishop aka Militant Elvis, who was also a candidate, met us for a drink and there was tension between him and our Elvis from the start. Eddie Vee was on fire and fully attired as Las Vegas Elvis in his sequined and flared jumpsuit, whereas Militant Elvis was in black leathers and not really enjoying himself.
All the photos and televised footage in the name of Militant Elvis at the count were of our Elvis Eddie Vee who completely usurped him and stole the show.
Later in the night I cornered David Icke in the restaurant upstairs and tried to introduce myself but he took one look at me and ran away, Howling told me that he probably thought I was an alien lizard. This by-election was the last time Roz had any major involvement in the Loony Party.
 
26th June 2008 Counting Agent at the Henley By-election
The Loony Party's keenest and most energetic campaigner 'Top Cat' TC Owen threw his large banana shaped hat into the ring for Henley. We stayed at The Black Horse Hotel in Thame. The night of the count was enlivened by the Fur Play Party who provided several cases of wine in the reception area of the Counting Hall.
 
22nd May 2008 Candidate in the Crewe & Nantwich By-election

Crewe & Nantwich was my first by-election, I was very pleased when Howling agreed to let me stand as I was certain about winning this seat for the Loonys. The highlight of my campaign was my interview with Claire Ashforth where she interviewed me and some of the other candidates including Gemma Garrett who made the election and night of the count wonderfully glamorous

 
 

>>Link to BBC news item 'Parties in final by-election push'<<
At the end of the night I obediently stood in the position I was directed to on stage. I looked across to see Howling with a cheeky grin hiding behind the curtain and holding his finger "shhh" across his mouth. Sure enough the old goat jumped onto stage at the declaration to grip the winning candidate's hand, unstoppable, a master at his game!

The Wikipedia page dedicated to this by-election states I have legally changed my name to 'The Flying Brick', I've never done changed my name by deed poll, I'm honoured they are mixing me up with RU Seerius who has.
I came seventh out of ten beating an independent, Cut Tax on Diesel and Petrol, and Gemma Garret.

   
Imwyeddon, Sam Thing, Madam Pomona, Howling, Flying Brick, Mad Cow Girl and Bananaman in 'The Shakespeare', Nantwich, shortly before attending the count
 
31st Mar 2008 My first submitted >>Statement of Accounts for 2007<< to the Electoral Commission.
 
September 2007 Loony Party Conference at the Ommaroo Hotel in Jersey

There is a large Loony fraternity in Jersey led by The Jersey Flyer, they organised the 2007 Loony party Conference which they advertised as the '2008 Conference' to confuse the historians. The conference was very well attended with most flying in but some like Boney, Stan, Dave Savage and the band coming across on the ferry. There was an edgy atmosphere as Boney was being deliberately rude to as many people as possible, which left Stan, and Dave looking isolated and uncomfortable.
Boney's exit from the Loony Party was truly bewildering; she hit the large red self-destruct button and seamlessly went from party matriarch to party pariah. I believe she over did it and burnt out.
The highlight for me was my first ever cabinet reshuffle. It was held at its usual time of Saturday afternoon on the magnificent Havre de Pas seafront, in the photo are Howling and the Jersey Flyer and his exceptionally fine cabinet, which we all shuffled about in.
There was a fairly dark mood in the evening when Dave and the Savages played in the large basement room of the Ommaroo, it was the last gig they played for the Loony Party.

 
 
19th July 2007 Counting Agent at the Sedgefield By-election
When Tony Blair stood down to let his old chum Gordon Brown have a turn as Prime Minister there was a lot of excitement in Loony circles. We expected the Sedgefield electorate to embrace New Loony with the leaving of New Labour. I drove to Sedgefield to help Mad Cow Girl, who was Howling's Election Agent, and Boney find the nominations, which turned out harder than anticipated. Roz and Boney had been great friends for a long time and Roz was finding Boney's fallout with Howling and much of the rest of the Party depressing.
A few weeks later the count was a very sombre affair with no Labour 'big guns' turning out on the night and a very heavy police presence. I was also horribly sober as the only bar within walking distance closed as soon as I turned up! The only thing notable I remember of the night was meeting Norman Scarth and reading the crazy leaflet he gave me >>Scanned Leaflet<<
 
11th July 2007 Appointed Loony Treasurer
Howling had to fill a lot of vacancies during 2007. Baron von Thunderclap took the membership with Chinners doing the merchandise and RU Seerius became the webmaster.
The Electoral Commission requires that the Treasurer is their main point of contact. Howling originally registered William Buxton as Party Treasurer but I got the job when William declared he was moving to Russia. I was registered as Treasurer on the 11th of July 2007.
 
Boney Maroney
In May 2007 Mel Staniforth resigned as Deputy Leader, Party Secretary and Treasurer. This was the last membership letter she sent out >>Membership Circular<<
Boney had increasingly run the Party since Lord Sutch died. Howling, Boney and Roz (Mad Cow Girl) fought for, and retained control of the Party from Chris Screwy Driver's leadership challenge in 1999. At that time Boney and Roz divided the administration between themselves, Boney looked after the membership and merchandise and Roz was treasurer, party secretary and ran the website. While she was treasurer Roz bought the www.omrlp.com domain name and wrote the constitution, but within a couple of years she suffered from stress and had to resign. She gave control of the domain name and all the treasurer paperwork to Boney driving down to Holmfirth from Sunderland in her 2CV in June 2001.
For the six years between 2001 and 2007 Boney lived and breathed the Loony Party, she kept the membership at record highs, oversaw the production of the best T-Shirt designs by Dave Savage, liased with the Electoral Commission filling in expense forms and cajoled Stuart Estell 'The Flying Pasty' into creating a modern website. In short she efficiently administered and ran the party. Sometime in 2006 she decided that it was time for her to be leader and repeatedly told Howling she expected him to step aside, which he did not feel, was necessary.
I suspect that most, if not all, Loony Party members are loyal to Howling as leader, as he is friendly, consensual and an excellent public speaker with an uncanny talent for delegation!
In the first half of 2007 Boney rang a lot of Party members in an unsuccessful attempt to instigate a mass defection to Captain Sensible's new Blah! Party. In the end the only people that went with her were her husband Stan who is the drummer in The Savages, Dave Savage and Stuart Estell the webmaster at that time.
 
29th June 2006 Counting Agent at the Gwent By-election
I was one of Howling's 'Counting Agents' in his bid for parliament in the Gwent By-election, we stayed at the Ebbwvale Hotel in Abergavenny. Willi Beckett and I did a lot of campaigning while being driven about by Mad Cow Girl in her 2CV "Boat Voony - The Dyslexic Manicfesto!" Willi died on the 2nd March 2007. At the same time Johnny Cartwright aka Kernel Coco Bean stood in the Bromley and Chislehurst By-election.  

 
 
5th May 2005 Candidate in the West Derbyshire General Election

I have confused feelings about standing in the 2005 election for West Derbyshire, my partner Lynne (Lady Constance D'Cavelier) had suffered back-ache over the first half of the previous year and in the autumn of 2004 was diagnosed with cancer. The first months of 2005 were a very emotional time with Lynne going in and out of palliative care. Standing for the Loony Party seemed completely unimportant but Lynne asked me to do it and it was a distraction.
I was interviewed at the Medical Centre on Compton St., Ashbourne by Marsha Ramroop on Andy Whittakers Radio show on Radio Derby 18th Apr 2005. >>Link to audio of my Radio interview with 18th Apr<<
On 29th Apr 2005 I was joined on my hustings around Ashbourne by Claire, David & Tom - political students at Kingshurst College, Birmingham. I introduced them to my arch enemy Martin Kylsun 'The Count' who suggested a drink . >>Link to audio of my Interview with Kingshurst<<
Before the count at Wirksworth leisure centre we were joined by the 'Count's' counting agents for some excellent organic pizza at Mimmo's, West Derbyshire's finest Italian restaurant.

 
Mimmo, Imwi'edon, Flying Brick, Peter, Lady Table Manners, Lord & Lady Tourettes, Dale Rowles, Robin 'Ships Ahoy' Delves in the Counting Hall at Wirksworth leisure centre
 
30th Sep 2004 Election Agent for Howling Laud at the Hartlepool By-election

Feeling rather smug at how I'd organised the Leicester by-election I was keen to adventure north when the Hartlepool by-election was declared.
I was lucky to book myself into the Melbourne Hotel at 16, Stockton Road, Hartlepool as it was owned and run by a natural Loony George 'Jedediah Headbanger' Stuart. When I told him I was in Hartlepool as Howling's 'Election Agent' he enthusiastically found me all ten nominators, most of whom came to the Melbourne Hotel to sign the Nomination Paper while I was having breakfast!
When I returned to Hartlepool three weeks later Howling was conducting his campaign from aloft George's Fire Engine closely followed by Mad Cow Girl in her yellow 2CV with a medley of Sutches campaigning songs blaring from speakers perched on her bonnet.
In early evening most of the Loonys met up in the closest pub to the Counting Hall where there were also a lot of Fathers 4 Justice dressed up in super-hero outfits.
At the end of the count Fathers 4 Justice candidate Peter Watson made the Liberal candidate Jody Dunn cry when he threw purple dye over her because she was a family lawyer. I've always felt suspicious about them since then. The night closed with Ronnie Carroll giving a nice speech and song.

 
?, Mad Cow Girl, Johnny Morris, ?, Howling. ?, ?, Dale Rowles, RU Seerius & Jedidiah Headbanger at the fron
 
Aug 2004 Bonsal International Hen Racing

I changed my tactics in 2004 and held a hen races at Kirk Ireton village fête to find a champion. Dorothy, a good looking, and strong, Rhode Island Red won the Kirk Ireton races but put in a very disppointing form at the International Bonsal event coming third in the preliminaries.
I had recently returned from Nepal where my cousin Greg was working in the British embassy. His wife Janice bought me a hen hat in Durbar Square, Kathmandu. This hat made it into both the 'Matlock Mercury' and 'Derbyshire Life!' >>September issue of The Derbyshire Life<<

 
 
15th Jul 2004 Election Agent for RU Seerius at the Leicester South By-election
I was RU's Election Agent at Leicester South and 30th Jun drove to the Council Offices in Leicester, collected the 'Register of Electors' and set off into the Constituency to find supporters.
It was the first time I had looked for a 'Proposer' a 'Seconder', a further eight signatures of registered voters and a willing local 'Agents Office' address outside my home area and it was a struggle. Naively I started in very down-trodden areas and eventually mid-afternoon found Aylestone, a civilised neighbourhood where the locals were delighted to nominate a Loony candidate.
When I submitted the completed forms late in the afternoon the Returning Officer Tom Stephenson found that one of the nominating signatures although on the printed register wasn't on the updated computer version and had to be discounted. He kindly advised me, quite correctly, to try The Vaults for another supporter. It was a short distance from council offices and I was sorry that I had to leave this pub quickly and rush straight back with my completed paperwork.

RU had an interview with Richard Scotsman on Central TV and I was invited along to display my shouting skills.

 
This photo on the right was taken in the nearest pub to 'Saffron Lane Sports Centre' just before we went to The count. The Loonys in this photo are: from the left, Howling Laud, seated by him my late wife Lady Constance D'Cavelier "but you can call me Bedspread". The late 'Sam Thing' at the front, Dale Rowles at the back with is Derby City hat on. I am at the back holding a "say no to pointless placards" placard. In the middle is Lady Sew and Sew, her husband Lord Horrachio at the back, RU looking dapper in his top hat and shades and a random bloke we met in the pub wearing my hen racing hat.  

 
My most memorable recollection from the night of the count was shaking the hand of the man who had shook Saddam Hussein's hand, George Galloway. He was there encouraging his 'Respect' candidate a rather wide eyed and youthful asian lady.
When I went to George outside the hall and shook his hand he looked at me keenly and asked if I "was a supporter"? I said "no, but they are!" pointing to Sam and Dale who were walking vigourously towards us. They must have looked intimidating as he turned and briskly fled.
 
Sep 2003 Counting Agent at the Brent East By-election
The next by-election was at Brent East where I was quite drunk at the count. My previous three experiences of attending counts were that you needed to stock up in the pub as the counts were dry. This was not the case with Brent East. We had a few drinks in the pub only to later make the happy discovery of a bar at the count! Towards the end of the evening I upset The comedy terrorist.
We stayed at Adelphi Hotel where I regaled Boney and Stan about my recent accident plummeting from the South African sky and my bedridden rest while my broken pelvis healed. Stan now refers to me as 'Cathiter man' due to one of the many indignitys during that seven week ordeal.
 
Aug 2003 Bonsal International Hen Racing

This photograph was published in The Matlock Mercury. It catches me putting 'Tikka' from Richards' Belper Lane End racing stable through her racing debut at Bonsal International Hen Racing. Tikka was quick off the mark, but sadly lost interest shortly before the finishing line. Here I am supporting my hen while the two children with competing hens aren't showing a lot of interest. The camera angle gives it a funny edge as it looks like I'm leaning and pushing everyone else out! I was incorrectly called Dave Allen in this article and hoped to be called O'Mahony in 2004.

 
 
Feb 2002 Counting Agent at the Ogmore By-Election

Boney rang asking if I would like to go to the Ogmore by-election. I had just finished a building project in Wirksworth converting 13, St John St, in Wirksworth into 2 flats and a curry shop so for the first time in ages I had the time and the money to afford a holiday.
Leslie Edwards aka 'Guitar Fender' had been a school teacher and was our candidate in Ogmore, he told RU 'I wasn't well, but I'm better now'. He was sponsored by 'the man who is Del Monte'. Guitar Fender was a wonderful chap and I had a great time for a couple of days campaigning with him, RU, Boney, Stan and Howling. At the count we met 'Captain Beany'.
I must have been influenced with meeting 'the man who is Del Monte' and Captain Beeny as two months later in April I was an orange octopuss in 'Ground Farce' a Pantomime at Fleet Arts in Belper.
I was now hooked on by-elections!

 
 
2001 Loony Conference at Yately

I was very excited about attending the 2001 Party Conference. There were a number of reasons, firstly I had just discreetly stood in another election, secondly the headquarters had moved to the home counties but thirdly, and by far the most important, I was aware that the Bishop had left the Party as he was part of the Kent lot.
This meant that I was the 'tallest loony', I remember driving down the motorway to Yately in my Toyota Tercel going "I'm gonna be the tallest loony, I'm gonna be the tallest loony" and laughing thinking for the the first time in my life I was going to achieve something.
I walked into the bar, ordered a late afternoon drink, and met, for the first time, Johnny Cartwright. I was keen to ask when the 'tallest loony' competition was? His answer appeared initially to be cryptic but was brutaly to the point. 'Tallest Loony? they don't bother with that any more'.
"What do you mean? Why-ever not? The Bishops' gone, here I am tallest Loony, I demand a competition."
John Cartwright, looked up at me perplexed "Lady Penelope, she's the tallest loony".
My first conversation with John was the first and only time I've not believed him.
Howling was very welcoming and told me I was a 'Veteran Loony' as I had now stood twice.

A few months after the 2001 Conference I gatecrashed Philip Mark's Party on New Years Eve and met Lynne who was dressed as a space cadet. She later found her true identity as Lady Constance D'Cavelier "but you can call me Bedspread".

 
7th June 2001 Candidate in the West Derbyshire General Election

I was sad when Lord Sutch's died in 1999 although I only met him once. The only contact I had with the Party, between General Elections, was when I had been rung by Boney inviting me to the funeral in London. I was too daunted to go. Lord Sutch committed suicide on 16th June, which is Howling's birthday.
I was only moderately aware of the struggle that followed between Screwy Driver leading the Kent lot and Howling, Boney and Roz (Mad Cow Girl) for control of the Party.
I have since been told by Roz that Screwy Driver used to give a ten percent discount to customers at his Ironmongers on the Isle of Sheppey for members of the Loony Party. However he rarely, if ever, passed on the £10- membership fee to The Golden Lion and kept the membership list close to his chest. Roz said that a bus load of Kent Loony Members stormed the September 1999 conference at The Golden Lion in support of Screwy's leadership bid, but were successfully repelled.

 
Patrick McLoughlin and The Flying Brick
I told the Holly Bush that there wasn't going to be a repeat of the mayhem at the count and so only four of us attended. This was a fortunate decision as there were some very large police at the count who weren't to be taking any nonsense. Mr Wheatcroft was relieved with our relitively sober state.
Ironically for me 2001 was by far the lowest profile but highest scoring Election. I polled 472 votes, which as of 2016, is still my voting record. This is a photo of me and Patrick McLoughlin taken at the 2001 count.
 
1997 Loony Conference at Ashburton and the time I met Lord Sutch

I rang and apologised to Howling about the events of the count, he told me that 'The Loonys don't do that' and was clearly disappointed, but he was also insistant that I should attend the conference.
Months later on a Friday morning I drove down to The Golden Lion in Ashburton and set up my large tent next to the bottle banks in the pub car park. There was a party atmosphere when I walked in mid-evening wearing my cloak and turban, Dave and The Savages were playing. I was instantly spotted by Howling who grabbed my arm and introduced me to everyone including Lord Sutch who was standing at the bar. Unfortunately I have cocktail party hearing and a loud voice and was a little surprised and nervous to be talking so suddenly to the Legend. I rather randomly told him that I had previously met 'The Christchurch Wizard' and now that I'd met him my life was complete, or words to that effect.
Lord Sutch was taken aback and awarded me the Shadow Ministry of Fluorescent Dog Turds on account of my huge silver turban, which did look like a large fluorescent dog turd. The hat is now back in the Fleet Arts wardrobe..
A 'Tallest Loony' competition was hastily arranged and I was lined up in front of the band equipment with Baron Von Thunderclap and The Bishop who was clearly the winner. The Bishop had the appearence of an undertaker carrying a briefcase, I was told the next day that he kept his life support in that briefcase. At the end of the evening I had too much to drink and upset an Ashburton local and was helped back to my tent by Boney and Stan, the next morning I found a badge on my tent awarding me '**** of the month' which I wore to breakfast.

The Isle of Sheppey Loony Party members, who two years later were to try and take over the party, were all having breakfast that morning, Chris "Screwy" Driver, his wife, The Admiral and others were quite a presence.
At midday a large group of Loonys in regalia went on a tour of Ashburton's pubs led by Howling Laud. I was invited along and drank orange and soda. Before we entered each pub the Admiral would give a shrill 'Bosun Call' on his whistle.
Later that night I met Dangermouse, who was the Party Treasurer.

 
1997 Canmdidate in the West Derbyshire General Election
In early 1997 I rang Howling for the second time expecting and half hoping that there was a Loony candidate standing in West Derbyshire. When he said there was not, I asked him if I could do it and he said 'yes'. The Loony vetting procedure was complete.
I spoke to the Elections Office in Derbyshire Dales District Council, they were very friendly and helpful, I paid the £500 in cash as required with nominations and JJ as Election Agent.
I needed something to wear in my new Loony persona, so raided the fancy dress rails of the Fleet Arts panto group, I wore a large silver turban and a large braided cloak.
Initially I had no idea what to say until driving along the A6 by Milford with Nick Ellis in the passenger seat shouting through my barely working old French megaphone. He said a lot of nonsense then paused and shouted 'Abolish Gravity'. Ever since then 'Abolish Gravity' has been my Shadow Ministry.

I had drunk for a number of years at The Holly Bush, Makeney so it became 'Mission Control'. Many excellent policies were written there some of which were printable. Having no comprehension of the 'gravitas' of the Election Count I invited my friends from the pub to be 'Counting Agents'. On 5th May everyone met at the Holly Bush a little bit too early in the evening and the night started.
I now know having been involved in numerous by-elections, that the early start to the night was foolish. In fact Howling Laud, who is an expert in election night etiquette, always starts the evening fast asleep, having been in bed since the late afternoon. He rises at nine'ish in the evening to meet with his troops at an Indian Restaurant. Refreshed, assembled and fed we then meander to the Count via a few hostelries that he has befriended during the hustings.
Later in the evening our group moved from The Holly Bush to The Red Lion on The Green at Matlock, a short walk to the counting Hall. Many of us had run out of money when the pub called time but Rob Lowe bought Eighty Pounds of further refreshment which was then staggered up the road to the count at Sherwood Hall. The authorities refused entry to the alcohol so we set up a makeshift bar outside the main entrance. The photo shows us shortly later in the evening while we were still behaving. I am wearing my dressing gown for warmth.
Alison, Debs, Chris, Robbie Do and Giles held themselves in a decent fashion, and melted away when the rest of us started to disintegrate after this photo was taken.

 

JJ picked a thimble off the counting table causing a whole ballot box to be recounted; this was almost certainly the last straw for the Returning Officer Mr Wheatcroft. I had been mis-behaving by standing on chairs in the hall and shouting "Vote Loony" and Abolish Gravity". Rob Lowe's unfortunate fall down the stairs from the upstairs balcony completed the mayhem. He was in a Monks habit and jettisoning alcopops and cans of beer exploded after him. Rob has since written his interpretation of the night in his book 'A True British Eccentric'. >> Scanned British Eccentric Page 46 & 47<<
Looking back I am grateful for the lenient and measured response from Mr Wheatcroft and the doorman, who I believe was the Chief Superintendent of Derbyshire. It's surprising we didn't all get a ride in 'JJ's taxi' to bed and breakfast at Chesterfield Police Station. JJ amused himself for the night by ringing the alarm bell and holding his glass eye up to the viewing grill. The Officer in charge was quite unsettled and repeatedly searched his cell for the mysterious object.
JJ's finest trick in the Holly Bush was to drop his eye into your beer, causing mirth among your fellow drinkers but feelings of nausea as you completed your pint.
The local papers let me off lightly The Derby Telegraph with a small piece >>Scanned Page<< and Belper News kindly publishing my apology, their photo shows Rob, JJ and me. Rob incorrectly gave his name to the photographer as his friend Edward Tomlinson, who he used to play squash with. Edward wasn't too happy about it as he had a good job with the Council. >>Scanned Page <<

 
The first time I voted and why I joined the Loony Party

I think that the first time I voted was in the European Election of 1994. I can remember the excitement as I walked to the Polling Station followed by the dismay when I looked at the polling card and found no Loony candidate to vote for. Soon afterwards I went to Derby Reference library where a kindly librarian found me the Loony Party phone number and address.
Howling picked up the phone, when I began to complain about the lack of a Loony candidate I was genuinely surprised when he told me that the only way I could vote Loony at the next election was by standing myself. I didn't make any decision to do so at that time but the seed of political activity was sown.

I am in this photo at the back in 'The Lost Slipper Caper' A Fleet Arts panto Dec 1994. I painted the backdrop.

 
After the conversation with Howling I duly sent him a letter and cheque for £10-. Some considerable time later I received a large envelope with an entirely disorganised content including my membership card no. 594. Years later I learnt that Howling required staff at the Golden Lion to compile membership packs when it was quiet behind the bar. He or she would scoop leaflets and loony rubbish from behind the bar into the pack, writing a random number on the membership card. Here's my membership card, 'Draft Manifesto for General election 1992' and letter from Howling.
 
Where I was in the General Elections of 1987 & 1992

The next UK General Election was on the 9th April 1992. I was 27 years old, in New Zealand and working at Van Der Voort apple orchard in Ettrick. I was there a long time and drank a lot of home made beer, I can't remember ever being aware there was an election back home.

 
 

I didn't vote in the General Election on 11th June 1987, I was 22 years old and in my final term at Cheltenham Art College. This is a photo of me trying to make up a show, super quick, on the front lawn of Pitville Campus just outside the bar in June 1987. It failed to impress my art tutors however: They awarded me the academic pinnacle of a 3rd Class Honours in Fine Art Painting.