EU elections

Voters, Meet Your Euro-Election Banter-Candidates

The Great British Electorate will be spoiled for choice in the upcoming EU elections.
April 26, 2019, 1:55pm
EU election candidates, from left to right: Magid Magid, Anne Widdecombe, Rachel Johnson, Count Dankula
Left to right: Magid Magid, Anne Widdecombe, Rachel Johnson, Count Dankula (All pictures from Wikimedia Commons)

Clown army: take your positions. A month from the European Elections, we finally have the parties’ candidate lists, and they are every bit the light relief we’ve all been waiting for in these benighted end days.

Just when it all seems too serious to bear, we’re handed a Joseph Russo, a Britpop also-ran, multiple family dynasties, a former Polish deputy Prime Minister, and a twenty-something who borrows his sense of humour from Keith Lemon. Here are the best self-propelling gags of the lot.

Joseph Russo

Change UK – The Independent Group
Even in a campaign already rich in unforced errors, Joseph Russo achieves a level of "Sorry, why?" that is all his own. As of this week, Russo is most famous for saying: “Black people scare me. I put this down to be (sic) chased through Amsterdam by a crazed black whore” in a tweet from 2012. Russo wasn’t some obscure 65th-on-the-list either: he was the party’s lead candidate in Scotland until he resigned on Monday. He’s probably better off out of it – turns out he also tweeted that Change UK star Anna Soubry "looks just like a [Margaret] Thatcher 2.0".

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Ann Widdecombe (Colin McPherson / Alamy Stock Photo)

Ann Widdecombe

The Brexit Party
Back in the late 1990s, Ann Widdecombe bestrode our politics like a churchy spinster colossus. The shrill voice of a middle England that seems almost extinct now, hers was the pre-Cameron conservatism: tough on gays in the military, tough on the causes of gays in the military (arty-farty teaching styles at comprehensives) , Ann was a proper old school Tory, who’d campaigned for Section 28 and the death penalty, and against abortion. Her views on contraception were even more extreme: she’s also mildly famous for probably never having had sex – the subject of a testy encounter with Louis Theroux. Fifty-five years a Conservative, she’s now three days a Brexit Party candidate.

Ali Sadjady

Change UK – The Independent Group 'When I hear that 70 percent of pickpockets caught on the London Underground are Romanian, it kind [of] makes me want Brexit,” Ali Sadjady wrote in a tweet in November 2017. He then went on to stand for Change UK, the anti-Brexit fundamentalist party.

Sajady, a former Tory councillor and MMA fighter, seems to have been a pretty late conversion to anti-Brexit fundamentalism. Just last year, he tweeted: “To those petitioning for a second EU referendum, don’t you believe in democracy or does it not apply when things don’t go your way?” Well, not if you get a chance at a €100,000 a year salary and office expenses, it would appear.

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Even when he is rowing behind the cause, Sadjady remains as classy as diamanté Uggs, tweeting during the aftermath of the EU referendum: “Brexit is like dumping your girlfriend because she’s expensive and high maintenance and then realising she’s pretty hot.”

But at least the language of victimhood was still there for him. Having been sacked by the TIGs, Sadjady went on to tell the Evening Standard that his humiliation was some kind of teachable moment: "I think this is a serious issue. Talking about racism, xenophobia, misogyny, I think these should all be highlighted and if it is at my expense then fine.” Thank you very much for the lessons, sir.

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Rachel Johnson (christopher jones / Alamy Stock Photo)

Rachel Johnson

Change UK – The Independent Group
Like a TV series entering its death spiral, Brexit has become a multiplier of dynasties. No sooner did The Brexit Party beget Annunziata Rees-Mogg, sister of Jacob, than Change UK announced Rachel Johnson. S Club, meet S Club Juniors. Boris has always been the black sheep of the Johnson family anyway: brother Jo resigned as a minister in order to oppose Brexit, while dad Stanley is a staunch Europhile who was an MEP himself in the early 1980s.

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Annunziata Rees-Mogg (Tommy London / Alamy Stock Photo)

Annunziata Rees-Mogg

The Brexit Party
“When I became a journalist, they had to put my name in a specially small font to fit it on the page,” said Annunziata Rees-Mogg (20 characters). David Cameron took a shine to Annunziata Rees-Mogg long before Jacob was a party star, but she narrowly lost the Somerset seat next door to her brother’s at the 2010 election. Annunziata (who also has a baby daughter called Isadora) has been a member of the Conservative party since the age of five – she was too young for the Young Conservatives, so she joined the adult party instead. Yes, the anti-elite fightback starts here. Vox populi, vox dei. Etc.

Jan Rostowski

Change UK – The Independent Group
A former Polish deputy Prime Minister, Rostowski is taking advantage of a quirk of European elections which means that foreigners can both vote and stand, so long as they are residents. Brits do it too: in 1994, arch-Eurosceptic Sir James Goldsmith was elected to a French constituency. Rostowski once said that “a stable society is based on heterosexual relations”, and that some Polish MPs are “undeclared gays”. The problem of “undeclared gays” is not in the “Change UK – The Independent Group” manifesto, which could be why Rostowski has since recanted his thoughts.

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Count Dankula and Sargon of Akkad (Stuart Mitchell / Alamy Stock Photo)

Count Dankula and Sargon of Akkad

UKIP
Like a House of Pain reunion tour gone wrong, the YouTube edgelords are still out there, on The Edge, where it is real. But what probably seemed like a jolly political land grab a year ago now feels much more like a hostage situation gone stale, stuck with monotone paperclip salesman/UKIP leader Gerard Batten inside a party that doesn’t really know what it wants any more, except that it probably wants to be called The Brexit Party, and lead by Nigel Farage.

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Crispin Hunt (WENN Rights Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo)

Crispin Hunt

Change UK – The Independent Group
The Longpigs were one of Britpop’s best kept secrets, but what’s even less well known is that their lead singer went on to become one of the British music industry’s greatest exports. After his Met Bar days were done, Crispin Hunt found regular work as a secret songwriter for hire, brought in to punch-up the works of artists who couldn’t quite nail that sky-scraping chorus, often uncredited. Credited, he’s worked with the likes of Ellie Goulding, Jake Bugg, Lana del Rey and Florence Welch, among many others. Expect the Brexit Party to roll out Martin Carr any day now.

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Magid Magid (Colin Fisher / Alamy Stock Photo)

Magid Magid

The Green Party
Magid, the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, is a viral tweet made flesh. He's the one who went viral when he chose to use Star Wars’ Imperial March and the Superman theme tune as the music for that inauguration, who has since made it a tradition to wear a different hat at every Sheffield council meeting, porting a sombrero “in solidarity” with Mexico when “banning” Donald Trump from his city. Student politics extruded, like a real-life King Ralph, Magid probably thinks he can solve Israel-Palestine with a game of Twister.

@gavhaynes