On the 050505 This year, we are having a general election I want to run as Monster Raving Loony Party The only way I can raise the funds is by gathering signatures in all 74 Constituencies for "Rainbow George" Rainbow George has placed a bounty of £100 on every constituency. Anyone in London can do this. It is my role so far to support the ground troups. Farel Bradbury is mission commander.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

The first steps

It's Sunday Now.

But not knowing how to backdate the dates on this computer thingy, here's the previous days entries...

Thursday
I arrive at 'Cosmic Dave's' at mid-day, having arranged to meet at 9am.
Dave is guitarist for Krakowski.co.uk, A form of Hard Arsed Adrenalised Rock N Roll. Krakowski are well known in the community following various publicity stunts. These are the guys who actually did sell their soul on ebay, and managed to get £1.20
George had asked Dave to get the signatures in his borough, Dave accepted, and since Rainbow HQ was going to be closed for 3 days, I was sent along to provide support.

We had no computer, no letterheads, no electoral registers, and more importantly no clue about what we were supposed to be doing. Considering all this we approached the task with enthusiasm.

Dave asked what we had to do. . All I knew is it works like this.
For each constituency, we Get a proposer, a seconder, and 8 signatures to say that people give George permission to run as an MP. Before they sign, we check the names and addresses of the electoral register. Easy

I had the nomination paper filled in, all it needed was the signatures.
We didn't have an electoral register though, and didn't know how to get one either. A quick visit to google, and we had found the contact info for Daves constituency, which was Kensington And Chelsea.

We phone up.
I say I want a copy of the electoral registers, and am told that they don't just give things like that out to anybody.
I point out that I am indeed from an officially registed political party.
"Which one" he asks
"The Vote for yourself Rainbow Dream Ticket Party"
"Is that a real party?"
"Yeh. We're on the electoral commission website and everything !"
He checks. And is surprised to find we are.
"Rainbow George is going to run in each constituency in London. "
"Is he indeed"(Laughing)
"Yes, and so I need the electoral registers to sort out the nomination papers. How do I get it?"
"You have to deliver an official statement on letterheaded paper stating that he intends to run, and it must be signed."
(We of course don't have any letterheads, as Rainbow HQ is closed down!)
The official informs me that I can do it via email.
OK, but how do I sign an email ?
I write my name on dave's screen, and press send.

Dave and I get on the bus, and head to pick up the papers.
I arrange to meet the guy.
So are you his agent in this constituency ?
"'spose so"
All we really need is the role, but we are handed an official looking pack and told about agents meetings and stuff. I sign for it, and in the process accidentally get the job of Georges agent in Kensington and Chelsea. There are three boroughs in Westminster. Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster and Cities, and Regents Park and Kensington North. I ask if I can have the other packs while I am here, but am given another number, and told this is a seperate task.

We head back to Krakowski HQ, a private studio near Portobello Road, and begin to organise our signatures, starting with Dave as the proposer.

Daves name isn't on the electoral role, nor is his street. In fact, Dave isn't even in the constituency. We enter his post code and find out that we have only gone and picked up the wrong pack. We need Regents Park And Kensington North.

We call the relevant authority, but by now it is 5 to 5, so we tell her to expect a call from us tommorow.

Friday
I arrive at Daves at noon, again after arranging to be there first thing in the morning. We do the usual email, and call up the nominating officer for Regents Park.
"We want the pack for Regents Park"
"Which party"
"The Vote for yourself Rainbow Dream Ticket Party"
"It's gone"
"What?"
"One of your people has already requested it ?"
"Yeh - me, yesterday"
"No, somebody else"
"Who ?"
"Charlie"
"Charlies Doing Westminster and Cities"
"No that's still here"
"But we've got the signaturies lined up already".
This was getting complicated. We contact Charlie, who explains that he has indeed got the pack, as he found out that He wasn't in the constituency Of Westminster, he was in Regents Park too, so he figured he'd do that one.
We get authorised for the Westminster Pack, which we must now pick up from Town Hall.

So there we have it. We have 4 ground troops, and so far 2 of them have got the wrong packs for their area, and also gone for the same plot of land.

First though, we have to drop off cement at this rockstars pad, which ends up all over our clothes. Without time to clean up properly, we set of to the Town Hall where we got the other pack.

The man on reception listens intently to my explaination, and reasons for being there. When I am finished he pauses, thinks to himself, and exclaims "I have absolutely no Idea what you are on about"

It turns out that we were at the wrong town hall, and we call The Nominating Officer, and tell her we are on the way to collect packs.
"It doesn't just work like that, we have to prepare them"
"But we've only got 4 people, and 1 week to get 74 packs. This is holding back our campaign, and affecting our democratic right to run due to beaurocracy"
She tells me she'll see what she can do, and will call me back.

We are in sainsburys when she calls, Dave is eating chicken, and hands the phone to me between mouthfulls.

During the phone call I ask if there is any chance we can cancel charlies request, and can we pick up his register and ours at the same time.
The lady gets quite flustered, and says "You can't just go start cancelling stuff like this"
"Why not"
"Its the electoral Register, we don't just go out giving it out to anybody"
(Not strictly true, any organisation with money can buy it for marketting purposes)
"We're not just anybody, we are The Vote For Yourself Rainbow Dream Ticket Party! - We're politicians"
At which point my phone cuts off due to bad reception.

We get to Westminster, and begin looking for the townhall. We know it is on Victoria Street, we walk for ages, completely passing it. Despite it being the hugest office block in the street, with "Westminster Town Hall" In 4 foot high letters.

After asking a policemen, we eventually make it there. I have a fear of revolving doors, so Dave goes in to ask. 2 minutes later he is out. This isn't the town hall, this is the offices of the people who run the tube.

A bit further down, we approach a huge office block with the words "Westminster Town Hall" in huge lettering.

I think this might be it says dave, and heads in through the revolving door.

Through which I follow him.

The door starts slowing down. I feel myself being dragged upward. Dave turns around to see what is happening. The door grinds to a halt. I am suspended by my rucksack (which is still outside). We both burst out laughing. To our left, in the opposite door compartment an official looking woman with a clip board is standing there, trying desperately hard to act as if nothing is happening. Through the glass I see the people inside watching us as We struggle in the tiny cubicle just laughing like hyenas at our predicament.
I have to bend over forward as Dave climbs over my head to pull the rucksack through the tiny gap.

George had told us to be on especially good behavour at Westminster, following trouble that had been caused by someone representing the Rainbow people before.

So Dave yanks the rucksack free, the resulting momentum throws us into the main hall, where we fall around in clouds of cement. Meanwhile the woman with the clipboard is catapulted out into the street. Security are watching us. We get up, walk over to reception. I stand there in my flame-painted shoes, and dust off as much of the cement as I can.
"Err Hello, We're The Vote For Yourself Rainbow Dream Ticket Party"
"Yes", she says, "I can see that"
Both packs are waiting for us. She is convinced we are the genuine article... We take them home.

We hear later that when we left, somebody else from The Rainbow Dream Ticket Party arrived to collect the pack, only to be told it had already been claimed. Twice.

I submit my progress report to Farel Bradbury at HQ, and we work a plan to stop this happening again. 74 Constituencies to do in a week, and we've all targetted the same one, which wasn't even the one any of us meant to.
But Farel points out, there has been a lot of problems with other people getting the registers. Because George is running in all constituencies, a lot of the officials don't know what the rules are.

Later that evening, Krakowski are invited to a party where there may be students, and with it the potential to cover another constituency, so I tag along.
The opportunity was lost however, as at 4am we were asked to leave following an incident with another sleeping guest and a banana.

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