Pretending to like scones, needlessly queuing, rageful tutting, or having a cheeky half on a sunny Wednesday, are all solid examples of what it means to be British. But there is one thing that far outstrips these. One thing that defines our nation, our beliefs and our very essence of being. And that, my friends, is the London Mayoral Elections.
For starters, the marketing collateral was an absolute shambles. The campaign booklet was printed on tracing paper’s thinner cousin. The art direction was an homage to Clipart and Microsoft Word. The copy laughed in the face of punctuation. There were bold claims. There was ambiguity. There were promises waiting to be broken.
The candidates themselves are the sort of people you might meet on jury duty. A lively cross section of our nation from nutter to oddball via YouTube sensation. But the key player for me, is someone who’s recently undergone his own personal rebrand, Count Binface (née Lord Buckethead). He truly represents Britain.
Or more accurately, it’s the casual acceptance with which we’ve become accustomed to him, that does it. There’s not even a raised eyebrow – It’s just the agreed norm that at the forefront of a serious western democratic event, there is a man campaigning with a bin on his head. And people vote for him.
To be fair, his manifesto stands up. He wants to bring back Ceefax and banish Piers Corbyn to the Phantom Zone. And really, I’ve heard a lot worse. But I believe he’s popular because brits have always loved a little satire. Monty Python, Catherine Tate, Little Britain, Philomena Cunk all do an excellent job of pointing out our silly bits. And when self-deprecation is your middle name, you can’t resist a giggle.
There’s something heartwarming about the fact that in a global pandemic, with deaths, job losses and confinement, we’ve still kept our sense of humour. And that for me, is surely worth a vote. (Even if it’s not for Binface.)