Marchamont got his London election booklet in the post last week, listing the candidates for the mayoral and assembly elections. Unlike general elections, where such lists are hard to come by, London tells every voter who is up for election.
One less democratic aspect is the £10,000 fee charged to mayoral candidates to submit a ‘mini-manifesto’, effectively a one-page advert. This is on top of the £10,000 deposit that candidates must put down just to stand in the election. These elections are open to everyone, just like the Ritz.
Despite the costs, some 20 people are running to be London mayor, in an election that Labour’s Sadiq Khan seems almost certain to win. But intriguingly three candidates have not stumped up for the mini-manifesto: YouTubers Max Fosh and Niko Omilana, and Count Binface.
All three are openly in it for the lulz. Fosh is running to beat and humiliate anti-woke candidate Laurence Fox. Omilana is a YouTube prankster presumably doing it for content. Binface is, well, a man who wears a bin, created by comedian Jon Harvey.
The financial barriers have clearly not deterred such jokers from running for London mayor. Their sizeable online followers may also have discouraged them from splashing cash on a booklet that many will put straight in the recycling.
Ironically, the huge costs of running for mayor were justified as a means of stopping businessmen from abusing the elections to promote their wares through the booklet: the so-called ‘curry house argument’. Voters may wonder if in 2021 vetting the manifestos and sending them via email is beyond the wit of electoral officials.