Big Issue Vendor

Count Binface: ‘My joke mayor bid has power main parties could only wish for’

Count Binface may not triumph in London's mayoral poll but just by standing he has raised awareness of homelessness and the unique power of humour in British politics
Count Binface has been level with rival candidate Laurence Fox in the London Mayor polls. Image credit: Supplied

My name is Count Binface, intergalactic space warrior and part-time politician. My hobbies include invading star systems, dominating inferior planets and bingeing on the Lovejoy DVD boxset. But I’ve put all that aside (for a few weeks) in order to run for election as the next mayor of the Earth Capital, London. Ahead of that momentous day, I’m honoured to have been asked to write a few words for The Big Issue.

I am delighted that some Londoners have noticed my campaign over the last few weeks. I promise that I didn’t take this attention for granted. After all, there are so many weird and wacky candidates standing to be mayor this time round, I was a bit worried that an alien with a bin for a head might blend into the crowd. Luckily, I’m the only contestant who has created a Huey Lewis-inspired campaign song (Hip to Be Mayor) and I’m the only one with a heavily armed battle fleet stationed just outside Earth’s orbit. So I still stand out a bit.

But are these the main reasons that a few voters have been drawn to my unlikely tilt for mayoral power? I think not. There’s something in the air. And it’s not just the stink of sleaze emanating from 10 Downing Street.

If you ask me, ‘proper’ politicians are always hamstrung by the fear of saying or doing the wrong thing. You can’t blame them for this. In the 21st century they are scrutinised by the media more than ever before, so much so that a single slip-up could cost them their job. Being an extra-terrestrial being, who is unaffiliated to a big party, I don’t have this problem. And this is my secret. It means I am able to think big and bring voters some truly exciting ideas, like tying ministers’ pay to that of nurses, using spare royal palaces to help the homeless, restoring Ceefax, or even finishing Crossrail. In contrast to me, the main parties often end up keeping their heads beneath the parapet and playing it safe. In footballing parlance, they’ve parked the battle bus.

To be fair to Sadiq Khan, for him this is a sensible strategy. He’s way ahead in the polls, so why would he want to gamble and risk rocking the boat? I get that. But it means he’s left the door open for someone else to waltz through and offer to rename London Bridge after Phoebe Waller, and to not just repair Hammersmith Bridge but rename it after ex-footballer Wayne. That someone is me. And not just that, but I have gone further too. I pledge that at Trafalgar Square on the Fourth Plinth there should be Sir David Attenborough. Or a statue of him. (Either’s fine.)

It’s weirdly wonderful that in 2021, while freedoms are being curtailed elsewhere in the world, in the UK it’s still possible for an idiot with a Ceefax fixation to stand for electionCount Binface

Now you might think, ‘Come on, Binface. You’re only offering such outlandish policies like finishing Crossrail because you’re not going to win.’ And you would be right to think that. I won’t win (this time). But I’m standing anyway. Partly to raise awareness of the important cause of homelessness, for which I am raising money throughout the campaign. And partly because even in times as parlous as ours, I believe that there’s a place for humour in democratic politics, and nobody does this better than the United Kingdom. It’s weirdly wonderful that in 2021, while freedoms are being curtailed elsewhere in the world, in the UK it’s still possible for an idiot with a Ceefax fixation to stand for election. It might seem small but I think democracy is the greatest political invention in the galaxy, and it’s something worth celebrating and defending.

So on that magical day on May 6, when you get to the polling booth and you’re brandishing that stubby pencil to put your X in the various boxes, remember that you – that’s right, London, you – have the power to decide who sits atop the mayoral throne for the next four years. There may not be a logical reason for you to choose me. But I will say this: a vote for Count Binface would certainly put London on the map.

Whatever you do, May the Sixth Be With You, and Make Your Vote Count!

Count Binface has asked that his fee for this piece is donated to Shelter.