The Party That’s Never Won


Episode 1: We Need a Manifesto

It’s been ten weeks since the first wave of victory flooded through the converted North London town house. It was from here that the triumphant ‘pint swilling gatecrasher at the Westminster toga party!’ speeches were written; and the emails demanding extra cash for the long campaign ahead were sent out again, and again, all bearing Harry Ra’Basche’s friendly grinning face and digital signature. Now, after the initial breaking roll of craziness, things were just beginning to level off and quieten down.

The house stands on a slight dip in the eastern corner of Lonsdale Square. It’s a lofty, four storey gothic revival affair, built with grey bricks and overlooking the well-kept communal gardens. Located in the affluent area of Barnsbury, Islington. The building had once been owned by musician Dave Dee – of Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich. But now it is the political headquarters of the United Liberation Party (ULP)… the newly crowned plain speaking, but noticeably MP-less, darlings of British politics, spearheaded by its celebrity status leader, Mr Ra’Basche.

After 20 years of failure, the recent elections have seen ULP take a third of the country’s MEPs and gain over 300 local councillors. The big prize, the ever elusive general election, is just nine months away. The time has come for further action, to deliver on everything that’s been promised and to turn the big idea into something a tiny bit more concrete.

Song: The Party That’s Never Won



It has a dangerous message
Its PR is expertly spun
And it’s struck a chord with the people
The Party that’s never won
It’s represented in Europe
Its councillors are having some fun
But as for seats in general elections
It’s the Party that’s never won
The basic plan is beer, fear and spam
It’s got a top-notch pretence
Dress up lots of hate in a way you’ll relate
It’s bluster not common sense
Out on the right is where you can find them
Banging the immigration drum
There still isn’t a manifesto
From the Party that’s never won
They don’t drink tea, it’s alcohol free
Common man pints
Are the key… politically
Old Labour Reds, to racist fatheads
A spectrum pretty diverse
Are feeling quite swayed on beer flavoured Kool-Aid
It’s impressive and very perverse
They’ve out-handbagged Saatchi and Thatcher
Their wheezes seem second to none
It’s frightening to say they might not stay
The Party that’s never won
It’s never won
It’s beautifully spun
But it’s never won

“Bum,” thought Chris as another stack of manuscripts fell off the trolley. This was his third journey from the granny flat storage annexe at the back of Party HQ this morning. The wonky wheel and bumpy pathway were not helping his mood. He’d been the Party’s senior policy advisor for the past month and a half and was acutely aware of the ridiculously blank page blinking away on his laptop inside the house. At 33 years old he was the youngest member of senior staff, wore his short brown hair a touch too trendy… and for the last few weeks had been sporting an increasingly worried look on his face.

“I see the manifesto memo is going well.”

The irksome figure greeting him in the doorway was Sam, United Liberation’s PR Manager. She had been walking around on air since late May, and whilst not intending to be infuriating, this short blonde Cambridge graduate had spent the last few weeks trumpeting her successes. These came in the shape of ridiculously large press coverage that, incidentally, had absolutely nothing to do with her efforts. In fact, truth be told, her own modest part of proceedings mainly consisted of acting as Harry Ra’Basche’s microphone holder, and facilitating numerous pledges to deliver a complete domestic policy manifesto by September.

“Bum,” thought Chris with renewed vigour as the pair of them dragged the final load of papers into the communications bull pen. Formerly used as a private recording studio, this windowless, soundproofed space had been particularly handy for drowning out the anguished screams of numerous policy advisors. There had been many over the years, but since Harry Ra’Basche took over the party leadership three years ago there had been no call for one, or in fact a manifesto of any kind. The last 500 page, 350,000 word telephone directory, had been binned. And until now, Ra’Basche had thrived under two very clear policies:

1. Hate Europe
2. Vilify immigrants

It had been a straightforward rhetoric based on the ludicrously simple approach of saying the same thing over and over again… and then laughing uncontrollably whenever it was suggested that you may be either a) incorrect; or b) clinically insane. With the appearance of good honest horse sense, a man of the people attitude and the ability to play on people’s biggest fears, the Party had suddenly become a major player. Ra’Basche had somehow managed to tap into the mood of a nation.

“So this is what 80 years of Tory manifestos looks like?” asked Sam. “It’s very clever of you to base all our new ideas on a stash of discarded tat. Noble in a way.” She tried to make her eyes blaze intently with sarcasm, but couldn’t quite nail it. Her eyebrow movement needed some serious work.

“It’s not just Tory. I’ve got Labour, Liberal, Liberal Democrat, National Front, Scottish Nationalist, everything we’ve got… even the Loony Party.”

“Brilliant. The Monster Raving Loony Party will be particularly insightful I’m sure. Perhaps we could promise to give everyone free mushy peas and then repatriate the Welsh?”

“The Green Loonies, some of their environmental stuff is quite good – well, the bits that don’t involve speed limits in Brighton anyway. And if you’re not going to help, there are plenty of other things you could be doing… I’m sure one of our Bedford councillors has done another racism by now, it’s been a week.”

As Sam searched for a quick rejoinder, Chris began unloading the trolley onto the conference table in the centre of the room. Seeing that the moment had passed, Sam practiced a few quick eyebrow movements in the reflection of a gold disc on the wall. Eyebrow movements are very important in politics and she needed the practice.

Chris’ first official task for the Party was simple enough. Put together a briefing memo highlighting a selection of big ideas that could go into the new manifesto. The old one had been discarded three years before for being awful. In fact all of the Party’s manifestos had been thrown out, at some point or another, for being awful. After five weeks of focus groups, strategy meetings and membership round-tables, Chris had discovered two important facts: 1) The majority of United Liberation Party voters – and potential voters – only seemed to care about ‘sticking it’ to Europe and controlling immigration… and 2) this could not be stretched out into 500 pages.

“All we’ve got to do is tell them what to care about and Ra’Basche can do the rest,” he began hopefully. “There’s plenty of stuff in these things that our voters would love to care about. We can get tough on crime, and the causes of crime, bring back hanging, arm every policeman…”

“The amusing thing, Chris, is that we’ve spent the last three years selling the perfect message, in the perfect way, to a range of folks who used to support Old Labour, the Tories, the far right and everyone in between… and the only thing that’s ever united them has been our two perfect policies.”

“What’s your point?”

“You know… you’d think I’d have one.”

“You do realise that you’re going to have to sell a bit more than two policies and a personality very shortly don’t you?”

It was at this point, with timing that can only be described as divine, that the door to the small room swung open.  A wave of bright June sunlight shot into the soundproofed box. In the slipstream stood a man in his late forties, medium build with golden blonde hair loosely swept away from his forehead. He could have been a former tennis champion, a golf pro, or a shiny man-god made for advertising campaigns, but in his left hand he had a carrier bag clinking with beer bottles… Harry Ra’Basche has arrived, equipped with refreshments, to motivate his team.

Song: This Leader is Real Clever



This leader is real clever
His fine horse sense will appease you  
His splendid cause might just seize you  
Though his policies slight
There’s no question: he’s right to lead you  

This leader is real clever
He’ll stand up and then address us  
Plain talk and pints shall impress us  
It flows true from the heart
There’s no single duff part, to bore us  

His crud is good
A rich, wordy crud that soothes
It’s plain talk, fast and loose
And when proved wrong
He’ll bluster on

This leader is real clever
Wrapped us round his little finger
Unlike the rest he’s a dead ringer   
For plain speaking sense
He’ll never sit on the fence… or lie

We need his crud
Crud will unite as us one  
Even when he’s very wrong
Ra’Basche is so strong
We’ll bluster on

This leader is real clever, real clever, real clever
This leader is real clever, real clever, real clever
Real clever… he’s so clever

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