The Null Device
Ken carving a swastika into a dormouse's back
Charlie Brooker weighs into the London mayoral election; he's voting for Ken Livingstone, if only to stop Boris Johnson from winning
A few years back, during the run-up to the Nathan Barley TV series, my co-author Chris Morris and I briefly kicked around a storyline about an animated MP running for election. When I say "animated", I mean literally animated. He was a cartoon - the political equivalent of Gorillaz - fashioned from state-of-the-art computer-generated imagery so that he could move and talk in real time, like Max Headroom. His speech would be provided on-the-fly by a professional cartoon voice artist working in conjunction with a team of political advisers and comedy writers, so he'd have an impish personality not dissimilar to the genie in Disney's Aladdin. Debating against him would be impossible because he'd make outrageously goonish statements one minute and trot out cunning political platitudes the next. Because he wasn't real, he'd never age, die, or be bogged down in scandal - and huge swathes of the population would vote for him just because they found him cool or fun or different.
Fast-forward to now. On May 1 London chooses its mayor, and I've got a horrible feeling it might pick Boris Johnson for similar reasons. Johnson - or to give him his full name, Boris LOL!!!! what a legernd!! Johnson!!! - is a TV character loved by millions for his cheeky, bumbling persona. Unlike the cartoon MP, he's magnetically prone to scandal, but this somehow only makes him more adorable each time. Tee hee! Boris has had an affair! Arf! Now he's offended the whole of Liverpool! Crumbs! He used the word "picaninnies"! Yuk yuk! He's been caught on tape agreeing to give the address of a reporter to a friend who wants him beaten up! Ho ho! Look at his funny blond hair! HA HA BORIS LOL!!!! WHAT A LEGERND!!!!!!
Brooker then suggests that, should Johnson win the mayorality and not end up destroying London, that could open the doors to all parties running novelty candidates in the following election:
Basil Brush would be a shoo-in. Churchill, the nodding dog from the car insurance ads - he'll do. Or if we're after the ironic vote, how about Gene Hunt from Life on Mars? Or Phil Mitchell? At least he's a Londoner.
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