Politics Schmolitics: The Funniest Joke Political Parties
The Miss Great Britain Party
The Miss Great Britain Party was founded in 2008 by Robert de Keyser, the chairman of the Miss Great Britain beauty contest. Originally, the goal of the party was to bring a fourth option to the general public of Britain who didn’t want to vote for the Labour, Conservative, or Liberal Democrat parties. The Miss Great Britain Party proposed implementing new policies that ranged from the ridiculous — like a bank holiday dedicated to British beauty, to things that were actually legitimate, like full tax relief on child care for working mothers and exempting family homes from the inheritance tax. Three candidates ran under the Miss Great Britain Party banner in 2008, but none of them got more than 521 votes. The party was deregistered in 2009.
The McGillicuddy Serious Party
New Zealand has had a number of joke political parties over the years, but none has been more successful than the McGillicuddy Serious Party, which was established in 1984. Originally, the party was formed as the political arm of Clan McGillicuddy, a community organization whose mission is to bring joy and foolishness to New Zealanders. The aim of their political party was to ensure that nothing was taken too seriously — their candidates were selected in trial by combat, using paper swords and water balloons, and they ran on a platform that included free dung for all, replacing money with either chocolate fish or sand, and limiting the speed of light. At the height of their popularity, they received 11,714 votes, which was 0.61 percent of the popular vote. The party disbanded in 1999.
The Surprise Party
The Surprise Party was created in 1940 by comedian Gracie Allen as a publicity stunt. Her aim was to showcase how ridiculous politics had become, and she even went on a cross-country whistle stop tour with her husband and comedy partner, George Burns. They shot a live radio show at each different stop, and Allen even received an endorsement from Harvard University. In a truly surprising turn of events, Allen was nominated for mayor of the small town of Menominee, Michigan, although she was eventually disqualified because she didn’t actually live there.
The Youth International Party
In the 1960s, many young activists were searching for a way to engage with the political system while still maintaining their counter-cultural agenda. This led to the formation of the Youth International Party in 1967, whose members were often called “Yippies.” The party engaged in theatrics and pranks like putting forward a pig as a presidential candidate — “Pigasus the Immortal” was nominated by the Yippies in Chicago in 1968 but was later taken from the group and transported to a farm in Illinois.
The Yippies had no formal hierarchy or member structure, and they advocated for many socialist ideals like foodsharing, free clinics and support groups, and organic farming. Many of the Yippies were subpoenaed to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee and used their time in the spotlight to protest the ongoing war in Vietnam.
The #Yippies (Youth International Party) had their presidential nominating convention in #Chicago68 with their candidate Pigasus, an actual pig. Chicago Police arrested the candidate and others. #Year1968
50 years this week. pic.twitter.com/KYIV4XoUzm
— Rich Neumeister (@richneumeister) August 27, 2018