The (British) Empire Strikes Back: The Rise of Lord Buckethead

The United Kingdom’s 2017 general election has been nothing short of mad already. Theresa May exploited a loophole in the British legal system, called for an early election to gamble on increasing the Conservative majority in Parliament, and ended up losing seats instead. Jeremy Corbyn, previously the people’s pariah, came back from the brink and led Labour to win an extra 30 seats. The state of British politics seems doomed to either stagnation or chaos, with a hung Parliament in governance and Theresa May being in talks with the ultra-right-wing, anti-abortionist (Northern Irish) Democratic Unionist Party.

But amidst this typically British farce, a hero has risen. He has no true face, but has successfully brought some much-needed comic relief to this disastrous political farce. His name is Lord Buckethead, and according to him, he’s here to stay in these troubled times.

Lord Buckethead, as you may have guessed, isn’t actually real. He is a satirical political candidate based off a character from a 1984 movie, Hyperspace, who even has his own equally satirical independent political party known as the ‘Gremloids’. Lord Buckethead has been around since 1987, when he first ran for a post as MP against the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, in her constituency of Finchley. He also ran against Prime Minister John Major in 1992, and this year, completed his self-proclaimed “historic hat-trick” of running against three Prime Ministers by contending in Maidenhead with Theresa May herself. Though he may not have been elected as Maidenhead’s new spacelord MP, the hilarity that this one man in an outlandish sci-fi costume brought as he dabbed on an official stage, was enough of a victory for the people.

Satirical political candidates are hardly new to the UK. Figures such as The Official Monster Raving Loony Party (a real, registered farcical political party in England’s southeast) are well-known throughout the country. Some constituencies may even have more than one jester taking the stage at the elections – this year at Maidenhead, Lord Buckethead was also facing competition from “Howling Laud” of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party, and Elmo himself (yes, that Elmo from your childhood). But this year, Lord Buckethead truly outshone the rest, with appearances in all major news outlets. The Guardian journalist Ben Jacobs even called Lord Buckethead a “political juggernaut”, who beat Elmo into submission at Maidenhead after scoring 249 votes compared to Elmo’s measly 3.

But the true importance of Lord Buckethead lies in his manifesto promises. Apart from his eternal grudge against the city of Birmingham, which he once proposed to raze to the ground and build a spaceport on, he does promise the British people a version of what they want the most. No political party is safe from being borrowed from by Lord Buckethead. Labour promised nationalisation; Lord Buckethead promised the nationalisation of Adele, a “great British asset” which would “bring about common good” and “maximise the efficient use of UK resources”. Theresa May’s strong and stable leadership promise – which already spawned hundreds of Internet memes – is countered by Lord Buckethead’s own honest promise of “strong, but not entirely stable leadership”. Outrage at the terrorist attacks in Manchester and London were also covered by the spacelord – “stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia. Start buying lasers from Lord Buckethead.” There was even a joke on the confusion of Brexit and the disorganisation with which the previous administration had handled it – “a referendum should be held about whether there should be a second referendum.”

That isn’t even the end of it. Much like Jeremy Corbyn, Lord Buckethead promised a lowered legal voting age of 16, as well as an age limit of 80, to counter the criticism after the Brexit referendum that old people were voting for a future they would never see. Free bikes for all under the reign of the spacelord would help combat the three pressing British issues of obesity, traffic congestion, and most importantly, bicycle theft. On the issue of racial tension, all facial coverings were to be kept legal (unlike their French neighbours across the Channel), including anything bucket-related. And last but certainly not least, the concern about legal democracy in Parliament was tackled by Lord Buckethead’s idea to abolish the unelected House of Lords, and Lordship itself… except, of course, for the spacelord himself.

Lord Buckethead may only have gotten 249 votes in total, but the spaceman was hardly displeased. “A new Buckethead record! Something to celebrate, eh?” he tweeted, along with a picture of himself standing next to a rather unamused Theresa May. Of course, it would be unrealistic to expect Lord Buckethead, or any other satirical candidate for that matter, to be moving into 10 Downing Street any time soon. But his manifesto speaks for itself. Whoever’s behind the mask definitely has a clearer picture of the state of the nation than any of the actual favourites in the election. Perhaps Mrs May could one day take a few pages out of his book – space hijinks aside, she surely won’t be worse off for it than she was at the end of this election.

Closer to home, here are some tips on how to ward off your local fanatic politician.