St Ives' Party Animal
TEARING down St Ives landmark statue of Oliver Cromwell would be controversial. Introducing crocodiles to the River Great Ouse, which meanders peacefully through town, would be horrific. And feeding dogs fluorescent food so that their mess is more easily
TEARING down St Ives' landmark statue of Oliver Cromwell would be controversial. Introducing crocodiles to the River Great Ouse, which meanders peacefully through town, would be horrific.
And feeding dogs fluorescent food so that their mess is more easily spotted by unsuspecting St Ivian pedestrians would at the very least have animal welfare campaigners up in arms.
However, one man is actively campaigning for all three suggestions to be implemented in the quiet market town.
His name is Lord Toby Jug and he is a fully-paid up, card-carrying member of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party, a veteran of three Parliamentary campaigns - including one against former Conservative leader Michael Howard in 1992.
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Lord Toby, or Sir as he prefers to be known to his friends, is standing in the forthcoming Cambridgeshire County Council elections. He launched his colourful "manic-festo" in front of bemused shoppers in St Ives yesterday (Tuesday).
He stood next to the potentially-doomed Cromwell monument and shouted through the party's standard issue megaphone: "Vote Monster Raving Loony, you know it makes sense!
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"Don't be a mug, vote Toby Jug!"
In his first interview on the campaign trail, Lord Toby told The Hunts Post: "St Ives needs brightening up. There are too many men in grey suits. There should be a super-tax on grey suits. We want to add a bit of colour to the town, and we can do that by getting some Lottery money and replacing this dull grey statue of Oliver Cromwell with a nice colourful one of our spiritual leader Lord Sutch."
Lord Toby, who calls himself the Shadow Minister for Mental Health, joined the party in 1987, after meeting the inimitable Screaming Lord Sutch in London. He stood against former Sports Minister Tony Banks twice in East London, securing 250 votes and later 300 votes, and secured 175 votes against Michael Howard in Folkestone and Hythe in 2005.
He moved to Landcliffe Close in St Ives in December 2007 and quickly decided the town needed a "sensible" party.
Other less contentious Official Raving Loonies manifesto pledges include the introduction of a 99p coin, to save change, and the installation of seatbelts on bar stools and airbags on pub tables as part of their health and safety policy.
Lord Toby said: "We need someone sensible in power. We were the first party to promote green issues, votes for 18-year-olds, passports for pets and 24-hour drinking. People laughed at us but all these policies have now been implemented. We're simply ahead of our time."
Despite his energetic efforts to promote his party, Lord Toby said: "I am campaigning for no votes. I do not want to be elected. In our party, if you are elected, you are kicked out. Don't vote for me."
He added with a conspiratorial wink: "There's a free holiday to the Bahamas for everyone who votes for me - because I am an honest politician."
Lord Toby formed the St Ives branch of the Raving Loonies last week and is keen to recruit more members.
His first meeting was packed out but he is looking to move from his current telephone box HQ to a nearby pub.