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JULY 2016

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--- BONKERS IN BRITAIN ---
10th July 2016

Bonkers In Britain

I'm a Bank Robber and not a politician, but that doesn't mean that I don't follow politics or have an opinion on political issues. Back when I had a legitimate job and participated in the national economy I would've classified myself as "Conservative." But after the U.S. Marshal drug me into the dock and Judge Hangum gave me 20 years, my political leanings have somewhat changed. If I had to place a label on my political ideology these days, I'd probably call myself a "Pro-Crime Liberal." If nothing else, a lengthy stretch in the federal pen will give you a fresh political perspective. But even though Bank Robber and Senator are at opposite ends of the vocational spectrum, there is one thing that Bank Robbers and senators both do have in common. We both made our money the old fashioned way: We stole it.

But is that the case everywhere?

Britain recently had a referendum on whether it should be part of the European Union, and the surprise result was that Britain voted to "Brexit". This has been met by some shock in America, along with some celebrations from Donald Trump. Given that I write for a British publisher and many of my readers are British, I thought it was time to figure how the "mother (cough) country" operates. If the people of Britain have been accused of being bonkers for voting out of Europe, who are the allegedly sane people who run their country?

There are many differences between the American and the British governments, but the largest one is that the head of the American government (who is also the Commander In Chief of all branches of the American military) is elected by the people. The head of the monarchy in Britain is what's called a "Sovereign." The current sovereign (whose also known as The Queen in Parliament), is Queen Elizabeth II. Her power derives from something called "The Devine Right of Kings," which roughly translates into the Royal Family believing that their right to rule The United Kingdom comes from none other than God Almighty Himself. One good look at Prince Harry after a couple of vodka tonics makes you seriously question this premise.

In the last hundred years, democratic elections for government ministers in the House of Commons almost always produced a majority from one of two political parties. Conservative or Labour. A majority (326 seats) is what's required to form a government, as it's called. But as the times have changed, so have people's political viewpoints. The Conservatives just had a majority in the last election, but there are a bunch of other parties who make up the "opposition". That's why you always see British politicans jeering at each other like a pinstripe-suited version of Manchester United vs Chelsea. Some of these other and/or newer parties are: Liberal Democrats, the Green Party, United Kingdom Independent Party (UKIP), and the ever-growing Scottish Nationalist Party, also known as SNP.

As in the US democracy, there is a bunch of electioneering. I find it quite amusing to watch a politician have to humble his or herself and suck-up to a constituency that they loathe, just in order to secure their vote, and retain their personal power. When the current Prime Minister David Cameron "lost" the Brexit election, he ended up having to quit. This showed that his ability to manipulate the electorate wasn't as powerful as his attraction to dead pigs.

Researching the last British elections, I was fascinated by the real characters who ran for office (see: mental patients). Here are a few of the lunatic fringe along with their party affiliation and some of the platforms that they campaigned on:

DAME DIXON: Ms. Jon Dixon was a professional mime who represents "The Official Monster Raving Loony Party." No kidding. There's really a party by that name that is really fronted by a mime. She ran for a parliamentary seat in the town of Hove in Southern England. In 2014, she told the U.K. Press Association that she was running on a policy of "undeliverable nonsense." As an example of this, she said that were the public transportation to fail for some reason (buses and trains), she would order that magic carpets be used in their place. She'd fit right in over here in Washington.

MARK BERRY: Mark Berry (also known as Bez) was a dancer for the popular indie rock band Happy Mondays and lives near Manchester in North-West England. Four years before the 2014 election, he served four weeks in jail for threatening to kill his girlfriend. Barry's platform was that he was opposed to the process of drilling for oil and gas in the manner that's known as fracking. He still represents the "We Are The Reality Party," a group of ardent anti-frackers.

At the opposite end of the political spectrum is our next candidate. I'm not aware whether or not she's anti-fracking, but I think it would be safe to say that she is most definitely Pro Fricking.

CHARLOTTE ROSE: Charlotte ran for Parliament as an "Independent" and is from Brighton. She is a Sex Worker and Sexual Trainer (whatever that entails). Not surprisingly, she ran on the platform of Sexual Freedom and equality for personal liberties. I'm no politician, and I haven't had the pleasure to sexually train anybody since my last cell mate at USP Lewisburg (that's a whole other blog), but I would imagine that it would be hard for Ms. Rose to "Run" for anything, being that the majority of her time is spent on her back. Ms. Rose's last campaign certainly sounds interesting, but she pales in comparison to our next candidate, a 62 year old druid priest named King Arthur.

KING ARTHUR PENDRAGON: Also calling himself an "Independent," King Arthur is from a town in south-western England named Salisbury. Wearing the costume of a senior druid, he conducts ceremonies at Stonehenge, which is not far from his house (that most likely has a round table). The King's platform is being opposed to austerity measures that were introduced by the Conservative government under David Cameron. With Cameron's political demise, I hope that King Arthur steps up to the plate and wins the next election.

What a cast of characters, huh? I could write a book about them, not just a blog. And I didn't even mention the 85 year old East-Ender in London named Doris Osen who represented the "Elderly People Independent Candidates" in 2014 and garnered two more votes than her age. God bless her. I hope that I can wipe my own ass when I'm 85, let alone run for public office.

Since this is a political blog, a political irony that's worthy of mentioning concerns Scotland and the SNP. Anybody whose watched Braveheart at least once, knows all about William Wallace and Scotland's history in their quest for independence. However, that was then and this is now, and another British referendum was held in 2014. That one was for the independence of the country of Scotland, from England and Wales, who are the guys that voted out of Europe. Don't worry, because I'm confused too. Scotland chose to remain under the control of England, but the SNP has grown and they want to stay IN Europe. Even my British editor can't fully explain to me what that will mean in the future. It all makes me hanker for the circus of US Presidential TV debates and the simplicity of choosing between a Donald and a Hillary.

That's about all this Bank Blogger has on the topic of politics for now. I'm sure that as we get closer to the election here in the United States that I'll be blogging more on this topic. After all, as I mentioned in the first paragraph of this blog, there's not too much of a difference between the vocations of politician and criminal in both Britain and the United States. In fact, as I type this blog, the last two governors of my home state of Illinois are presently my brethren here in the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

No surprise there. At least not to me.

Jeffrey P. Frye
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