Shropshire Star

Monster Raving Loony Party's small boats proposal unlikely to be taken up by anyone else

The Monster Raving Loony Party has thrown its brightly coloured top hat into the ring as politicians wrestle with the hot potato of tackling illegal immigration.

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Screaming Lord Sutch at a Dudley bye-election

It has only one proposal that seems unlikely to ping-pong between the House of Commons and House of Lords.

It wants the dinghies that carry refugees across the Channel – a perilous voyage – to be recycled and the rubber used to fill potholes.

A flippant suggestion in the light of recent tragedies, but one, Loony spin-doctors say, that would reduce lives lost at sea and on our roads.

It encapsulates the philosophy behind the party’s madcap manifestos.

Screaming Lord Sutch addresses supporters in the Islwyn by-election, with unimpressed Tory candidate Robert Buckland watching on

They are all tongue-in-cheek, but aim to shine a satirical spotlight on real concerns and real injustice.

In this case, the death and extortion exacted by people smugglers and the decay of our highways.

In his quest for victory in February’s Rochdale by-election, Ravin Rodent Subortna called on Just Eat, Deliveroo and other fast food delivery drivers to strike. The industrial action would ease and highlight the health scourge of obesity.

Ravin Rodent’s other demand was more “out there”. The candidate wants a public enquiry into why the same two teams reach the boat race final each year.

I actually like his idea of introducing a 99p coin to save on change. It could be a goer.

Subortna came last, but received 209 votes, which is a very creditable return for the Monster Raving Loonies. To date only one member has polled more than 1,000: Top Cat Owen walked away from the 1994 European elections with 2,859.

Over 200 Rochdale residents listened to Subortna and thought: “That’s what I want from a political party.”

In a time of conflict and climate change, that’s worrying.

Perhaps they were swayed by the party conference in Belper, Derbyshire. While Labour and the Conservatives hammered out plans for economic recovery at their gatherings, Loonies set a world record for the number of people collectively playing “Eye of the Tiger” on kazoos.

Such a stunt is a shrewd vote-catcher. There’s little you and I can do to change this country’s economic course, but we can all grab a kazoo and play the Rocky classic.

The Loonies don’t care. They’ve been lampooning British politics since 1983 when Screaming Lord Sutch, former rocker and founder, unveiled the party to voters at the Bermondsey by-election.

It is very much a West Midlands political eccentricity. In the 1990s, Cannock musician Mick Hames became party deputy leader. Mick, who died in 2006 aged 53, painted spots on the pub he ran, the Roebuck, rebranded it the Laughing Leopard and declared the place HQ to the Loony Party.

Having a laugh at the opening of the renamed laughing Leopardz pub in Cannock are Mick Hames and Elli Drury

I attempted to interview Screaming Lord Sutch there – and became the source of his entourage’s belly laughs. “Those hands have never seen a day’s hard graft,” one local election hopeful shouted as I scribbled shorthand.