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Monday, 5 March, 2001, 12:14 GMT
Monster Raving Loony Party
"Vote for insanity - you know it makes sense" - it's the unmistakeable clarion call of the Monster Raving Loony Party.
The party seemed an unlikely candidate for longevity when it was founded in the 1970s by the late Screaming Lord Sutch.
His party campaigned for the creation of a special ski-slope for Eddie the Eagle - made from the European Union's butter mountain - and argued for the breeding of ready-pickled fish in wine lakes.
Lord Sutch also fought for 18-year-olds to be given the right to vote in his first election battle in 1963.
He was standing in a by-election triggered by John Profumo's resignation.
He won 209 votes and his then National Teenage Party eventually saw its policy win legal support.
Contrary to some expectations, Lord Sutch's death in 1999 did not mean the end of the loonies.
They campaign on under the joint leadership of Alan "Howling Laud" Hope and a ginger tabby called Cat-Mandu.
The party has survived to see several of its policies win mainstream favour and a place on the statue books. They include:
In light of this success members briefly considered renaming themselves the Raving Sensible Party.
Some might argue their latest ideas are equally wise.
The party's 2001 campaign calls for all prospective home buyers to be given a full description of "floodplain", "coastal erosion" and "exposed headland".
"This will save time explaining why they have no house anymore after nature takes charge of the environment," says the manifesto.
Building on floodplains should be restricted to large houseboats, it suggests.
The party's transport policy calls for those sitting the driving test to be able to phone one friend, take a 50:50 choice of route or ask the other drivers in the traffic jam for advice.
And the party would restrict all under-21 drivers to Reliant Robins and 2CVs to stop 'boy racers'.
"All bus shelters will have central heating. This will be turned on full in summer and off in the winter, just like the buses," its transport policy continues.
On health: "All doctors, whether trained in Britain or overseas, should be made to take a course in basic spoken English, rather than their native Medicalese, as well as training in readable handwriting, as opposed to Scrawlese."
Such policies have rewarded the party with some electoral success.
Alan "Howling Laud" Hope won a council seat in Ashburton and was named mayor for a second term in May 1999.
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