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Contenders Count Binface, Elmo Turn Drab UK Elections Into A Fun Affair Along With AI Steve – News18

Contenders Count Binface, Elmo Turn Drab UK Elections Into A Fun Affair Along With AI Steve – News18

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London, United Kingdom (UK)

Satirical political characters ‘Count Binface’ and Elmo posed alongside former UK PM Boris Johnson. (Image: Reuters)

Count Binface and Elmo are regular fixtures at UK elections and have often put key contenders on spot with their antics.

When either Rishi Sunak or Keir Starmer take to the stage to hail victory in the British election on Friday, they will be joined at their moment of triumph by either a man with a trash can on his head or someone dressed as “Elmo” from the Muppets.

Among the more than 4,500 candidates standing for election to parliament’s 650 seats are those from fringe parties, single issue campaigners, and, in a peculiarly British tradition, those who are simply making fun of the whole thing.

The best known figure in the latter category is Count Binface, “an intergalactic space warrior, leader of the Recyclons from planet sigma IX”, who will be challenging Prime Minister Sunak in his constituency in northern England.

Dressed in a silver outfit with matching cape and wearing a silver trash can as a helmet, Binface says he wants to make the July 4 election “Bindependence Day” and that he is the “sane” choice for the electorate.

“That’s right, under the British system I get to stand against Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, it’s brilliant,” Binface, aka comedian Jonathan Harvey, told Reuters outside parliament where he was mobbed by passers-by asking to have their photograph taken with him.

Binface is now a familiar face – or helmet – at British elections, having stood against two ex-prime ministers, Theresa May in 2017 – albeit then in his former guise as Lord Buckethead – and Boris Johnson in 2019. He also contested the London mayor elections in 2021 and in May this year when he won 24,000 votes.

Among his eye-catching policies are pledges to price-cap croissants at 1.10 pounds ($1.39), national service for all former prime ministers and that he should represent the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest.

“It might be true that on Thursday night or Friday morning I haven’t beaten Rishi Sunak numerically,” said Binface, who has been endorsed by one national newspaper, the irreverent Daily Star tabloid. “But I would argue the moral victory will be mine.”


The veterans of the UK comedy candidate genre belong to the Official Monster Raving Loony Party which was formed in 1982 and has regularly contested elections ever since.

This year it is fielding 22 candidates, including Howling ‘Laud’ Hope, the party leader, Baron Von Thunderclap, and Earl Elvis of East Anglia.

Elsewhere “AI Steve” is hoping to become the world’s first artifical intelligence lawmaker, while the Psychedelic Movement Party candidate in Southend is standing on pledges to ignore the law and open 24-hour cannnabis cafes.

Some candidates make no secret of using the election for publicity such as Chris French who is standing having entered his pub “The Mitre” in Richmond, west London, as a political party.

Polls say Labour leader Starmer will be Britain’s next leader. “Elmo” from the Muppets will be competing for his seat.

Like Count Binface, Elmo has stood in numerous elections although Bobby Smith, the man in the furry red outfit, is seeking to make an earnest political point and wants to change the law on fathers’ rights.

Binface himself had a serious message behind the jokes, saying it was important to protect democracy in a year when “over half the eligible humans on your planet” would go to the polls.

“I’m here to cherish it, to defend it, to celebrate the fact that anyone in the UK can not just vote but you all stand for election whatever your platform or however idiotic you look,” he said. “I urge everyone … do go out to vote, and most importantly, make your vote, count.”

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – Reuters)

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