Politics are full of some of the most boring, spineless and dull characters. Can you imagine how boring a night down the pub would be with David Cameron, Ed Miliband, and Nick Clegg? Thankfully, politics also attracts plenty of extroverts, weirdos and crackpots. Below we take a look at ten of the world’s weirdest political parties. And, some have even had their laws passed!
The Official Monster Raving Loony Party (UK)
Perhaps the best known of the UK’s fringe political parties is the Official Monster Raving Loony Party, which was established in the 80’s by musician, activist and 3rd Earl of Harrow, David Edward Sutch – better known as ‘Screaming Lord Sutch’. Fielding a surprising number of candidates at every general election, their manifesto always makes interesting reading.
In previous years, they have promised to ban the use of asterisks and to make the Loch Ness Monster an endangered species, but a surprising number of their policies that at first seemed controversial are now law. This includes all day pub openings, votes at 19 and passports for pets. They may never have had an MP elected, but they have had local councillors elected, and they remain an ever present, albeit slightly weird part of the UK political system.
The Guns and Dope Party (USA)
Started in 2003 as a joke by the author Robert Anton Wilson to contest the California recall election that was won by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Guns and Dope Party tried to unite the left and the right of the California electorate. Thinking if left wing drug users could find a way to work with right wing gun fanatics, it would result in an unstoppable force, and they promoted this idea through their slogan ‘I’ll tolerate your hobbies if you tolerate mine’. As well as this aim, they had several bizarre policies that included:
- One third of congress to be ostriches
- Drugs for those who want them
- Guns for those who want them
- Everybody to be President
The Canadian Extreme Wrestling Party
The Canadian Extreme Wrestling Party was a political party in Canada formed by a group of professional and amateur wrestlers in 1999. Their policies were quite serious when compared to others in this list, and included environmental and economic issues, as well as debates on Canada’s involvement in NATO.
It was the way they selected their candidates though that set the Canadian Extreme Wrestling Party apart, as they had an 11-man all-in wrestling battle royale with the winner being the chosen candidate.
The Church of the Militant Elvis Party (UK)
Led by David Bishop, the Church of the Militant Elvis Party has several registered political parties/campaign groups:
- Militant Elvis Anti-HS2
- Elvis and the Yeti Himalayan Preservation Party
- Militant Elvis Anti-Tesco Popular Front
- Grumpy Old Elvis Party
- Elvis Turns Green Party
- Elvis Defence League
- Bus-pass Elvis Party
As a party, their main campaign themes are the power of corporations such as Tesco, climate change and the depletion of the Amazon rainforest. Bishop first stood for Parliament in 2007, contesting Neil Hamilton’s seat as ‘Lord Byron versus the Scallywag Tories’, getting 116 votes. It was in 2001, however, that the Church of the Militant Elvis was formed and received 52 votes in that election.
The Death, Dungeons and Taxes Party (UK)
The Death Dungeon and Taxes Party was formed in 2005 and is a satirical political party. It fielded two candidates in the general election that year – Damien Fleck in York and Brett Harris in Edinburgh.
Like most of the UK’s more outlandish political parties, they had a number of eye-opening policies in their manifesto. This included:
- Immigration: Immigrants to be repelled from the UK’s borders by means of hot oil and longbows
- Murderers to be disembowelled
- People who use text message speak in normal everyday life to be executed
- Litterers to be hanged
- France to be invaded and annexed
- The school leaving age to be lowered to nine
Harris and Fleck earned just 89 and 93 votes respectively, reflecting just 0.2% of the vote in each constituency. The party has not been represented at any general election since.
The Union of Conscientious Work-Shy Elements (Denmark)
Unlike most of the political parties in this article, the Danish Union of Conscientious Work-Shy Elements Party actually managed, against all odds, to win an election. Jacob Haugaard, a comedian, first formed the party in 1979, and he ran unsuccessfully in every general election until 1994 where he was unexpectedly elected with a staggering 23,253 votes. His policies in that election included:
- Better weather
- The right to be impotent
- Army field rations to contain Nutella
- Everyone to have 8 hours of rest, 8 hours of spare time and 8 hours of sleep per day
- More whales
- Better Christmas presents
- More bread for ducks in parks
- More renaissance furniture in branches of IKEA.
He was successful with two of them, as Nutella as successfully added to army rations and more bread being made available for ducks in parks. He retired after his first term in office.
The Fancy Dress Party (UK)
Formed in 1979, the Fancy Dress Party are often referred to as the forerunner of the Official Monster Raving Looney Party. The aim of the party was to be a ridiculous alternative to the mainstream parties of the UK, and have fielded candidates in the 1979, 1983, 1987, 1992, 1997, 2001 and 2010 general elections. The Fancy Dress Party had a number of keynote policies:
- Cutting police paperwork in make your own doily classes
- New schools to be inflatable so they can be built quickly (which therefore makes it easier for naughty pupils to let the whole school down)
- The abolition of student top-up fees by making sure students are entitled to the same size pints as everybody else
- Reducing school class sizes to 3’ x 2’6”
- Cutting unemployment figures automatically by using a smaller font size
The party remains on the register of UK political parties, but sadly, hasn’t fielded a candidate since 2010.
The Polish Beer Lovers Party (Poland)
You wouldn’t expect a party named the Polish Beer Lovers Party to be a successful political party, would you? But they actually managed to win 16 seats in the Polish general election of 1991.
The party originally began as a joke, being formed by Polish satirist and comedian, Janusz Rewisk, running a campaign to fight alcoholism by encouraging people to drink beer rather than vodka. Due to the fact that they run a very slick campaign and that Poland was in its early days of democracy, they gained a lot of public support. The Beer Lovers Party has now split into two separate parties – the Big Beer Party and the Little Beer Party – both of which are legitimate political parties with serious policies.
The McGillicuddy Serious Party (New Zealand)
The McGillicuddy Serious Party was a political party in New Zealand in the 80’s and 90’s with the campaign slogan ‘If you want to waste your vote, vote for us’. One of the more stranger parties on the list, their candidate selection process consisted of sword fighting with rolled up newspapers, musical chairs and water balloon fights. Their policies were rather bizarre too, including:
- Only those people under the age of 18 being allowed to vote
- Sand to replace money as legal tender
- Votes for trees
- Mandatory homosexuality for a third of the population
- Free castration
- A promise to break all of their promises
The Miss Great Britain Party (UK)
With a political aim ‘To make Westminster sexy, not sleazy’, the Miss Great Britain Party was founded in 2008 by the pageants chair. It has fielded candidates in several elections since with little success, using a mix of satirical and serious policies that include:
- A fairer tax system
- Equal pay for all women
- A bank holiday to encourage people to look fabulous for the day
Whilst not a successful political party, the group certainly adds a bit of glitz and glamour to elections.