Opinion

The Monster Raving Loony Party are making more sense than their rivals. No, seriously

The UK is in crisis, and yet the Monster Raving Loony has more rounded policies than parties with a genuine chance of making electoral headway

What are the duties of the minister for big issues, 2024? Who knows. Illustration: loonyparty.com

I received an honorific over the holidays. I was named in the new year’s honours list – of the Monster Raving Loony Party. They made me Minister for Big Issues. 

Quite why I was deserving of being on their 2024 list, or what extra duties or rights this confers, are not clear. But in the same announcement Alice Cooper (yes, that Alice Cooper) was made Minister of Home Skooling and the great Scottish comedian Janey Godley was named Minister of Honey Flavoured Sausage Dogs, so it’s good company. If confusing. The thing seems to involve a title, a picture of me in a big hat and not a huge amount else. Probably best not to delve too deeply. So, thank you, Loonies. 

I am not a member of the Monster Raving Loony Party. Or indeed any political party. At Big Issue we remain defiantly non-aligned. It allows for more clarity and focus of thought. This will be useful in the months ahead. Now we’re in the early days of general electioneering, political parties are starting to show their ankles, so I had a look at what the Monsters are proposing. 

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And while they campaign under the banner ‘Vote For Insanity, You Know It Makes Sense’, they are addressing major issues impacting the lives of millions. They’re getting into the issue of potholes with this manifesto promise: “We will stop the practice of council workers piling up tarmac on the roads in the form of speed humps and instead get them to put it in the plethora of potholes.” 

They’re dealing with concerns over jobs and the high street with this one: “Anyone using a self-service till in a supermarket will be given a 10% discount off their shopping.” 

Surely these are cast-iron vote winners. But how will these be costed, Paul, you might ask (and don’t play us for mugs). A good question. But then, we’re entering the period when things like budgets and reality have less importance than SAYING SOMETHING ANGRY. 

The Reform Party revealed some election pledges last week. The Reform Party, by the reckoning of some pollsters, could secure 10% of the votes in the general election in England and Wales, hoovering up disaffected Tory voters for whom the Tories are too wishy-washy and all woke. The Farage factor could help with this. 

And while that vote share may not deliver seats, it means that one in 10 voters see Reform as a legitimate offering. One of their pledges is this: “Brexit opportunity: remove daft EU regulations.” So far so meaningless. How about this one: 

“Freeze non-essential immigration: one-in, one-out.” Which is proper order if Reform were proposing to run the door at a city centre club on a Saturday night, rather than actually governing a country. But that’s where things stand. 

There’s not much to take from this except that, despite the years of strikes, growing numbers of people
in poverty
, growing homelessness and an NHS on its knees, The Monster Raving Loony Party, who polled a steady less than 1% in many constituencies in the last general election, and have the word Loony in their name, have more rounded policies ahead of the next election than a party who are favoured by a significant percentage of the electorate. 

This is going to be a curious year. 

Paul McNamee is editor of the Big IssueRead more of his columns here. Follow him on Twitter.

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