The Blah! Party

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The Blah! Party
Leader Ray "Captain Sensible" Burns
Slogan The Only Sensible Vote is the Protest Vote!
Founded 24 September 2006
Headquarters 9 Newtown
Honley
Holmfirth, HD9 6PG
Ideology Direct democracy
Protest vote
Colours Red and Black
Website
www.theblahparty.co.uk
Politics of the United Kingdom
Political parties
Elections

The Blah! Party is a British protest group, formerly a minor political party aimed at attracting protest votes. It was founded in September 2006 by punk rocker Raymond 'Captain Sensible' Burns.

The party was largely modelled on the principle of direct democracy, with suggestions being made by anyone on the party website. These suggestions would then be voted on by the membership, resulting in a "rolling manifesto."[1][2] At the end of 2008, it de-registered and refocussed itself as a protest group.[3]

History[edit]

"I always wanted to put a brick through the TV when I saw Blair pop his head up. It's quite easy to write lyrics when politicians are so corrupt. I had to start my own political party I was so angry. I called it the Blah Party. It was 50 per cent joke, 50 per cent serious but was my way of dealing with it."

Burns in November 2008[4]

The party was launched on 24 September 2006 at a conference in Manchester,[5] coinciding with the Labour Party conference.[6] The party was debt-free in 2008, with a membership of 8,544, up from 5,000 in 2007.[7] Initial policies included making John Prescott lose weight, stopping the FA paying Sven-Göran Eriksson,[6] and stopping "chav culture and the idolisation of airhead celebrities like the Beckhams, Paris Hilton and Jade Goody", alongside more serious policies of opposing the Iraq war and ID cards, instead spending money on public transport, hospitals and renewable energy.[2]

Sponsorship[edit]

The party was largely funded by a sponsorship arrangement with Seabrook Potato Crisps, with the party logo and details on joining for free printed on their packets,[5][8] but it also received non-financial support from PR company Propaganda. The party received £168,309 in the last quarter of 2006.[9] The party was fined by the Electoral Commission in 2007 for late return of accounts.[10]

Handover of power[edit]

On 11 September 2007, Propaganda (the PR company responsible for the founding of the party) stepped down from the running of the party and handed total control to Captain Sensible, former Official Monster Raving Loony Party deputy leader Melodie Staniforth, Robert Staniforth, Sadie Ingoldby, Shaun Nightingale and Gary Spate.[3]

New website and de-registration[edit]

In December 2008 Propaganda closed the website. The party ended its association with Propaganda and Seabrook, launching a new website. At the same time it de-registered from the register of political parties, deciding to instead be a protest group.[3]

Elections[edit]

The first candidate was Carl Finlan, who stood in the 2007 local elections in Thornton and Allerton ward, Bradford.[11] He gained 69 votes (1.6%).[12]

Deputy leader Melodie Staniforth stood in the Holme Valley North ward of Kirklees as 'Boney Maroney' in 2008.[13] She gained 38 votes (0.68%).[14] She resigned shortly afterwards.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Campling, Katie (10 August 2007). "It’s a load of Blah! as punk and politics mix". The Huddersfield Daily Examiner. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Balakrishnan, Angela (3 May 2007). "Voter apathy? Here's the Sensible solution". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Welcome to your new home". Blah! Party. 13 December 2008. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  4. ^ "The Damned are back". Derby Telegraph. 28 November 2008. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Loweth, Jenny (27 September 2006). "Crisp firm backs the new force in politics!". Telegraph & Argus (Bradford). Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "Captain's 'Blah!' to Tony Blair". The Sun. 25 September 2006. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  7. ^ White, Roland (1 June 2008). "Atticus". The Times (London). Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  8. ^ Varley, Melinda (29 September 2006). "Seabrook sponsors political party". Mad.co.uk. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  9. ^ "Tories' donations outstrip rivals". BBC News. 26 February 2007. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  10. ^ "Labour failed to declare millions of donations on time despite repeat warnings". Daily Mail. 25 January 2008. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  11. ^ Winrow, Jo (9 April 2007). "Election hopefuls line up for ballot". Telegraph & Argus. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  12. ^ "District Council Election". City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council. 3 May 2007. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  13. ^ "Candidates for the 01 May 2008 District Council Election by party". Kirklees Council. 2008. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  14. ^ "Results for the 01 May 2008 District Council Election". Kirkless Council. 2008. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 

External links[edit]