From #milifandom to the meltdowns, we take a look back at the political campaign circus
The election is about to begin for real, but the campaigning is over. Party leaders can finally sit down in their living rooms and take a well deserved break from trying their hardest to appear normal for the benefit of the British public. Like every other person, I get pangs of shame thinking about things I may have said or done on glassy-eyed nights out. I can't imagine what it's like to have to constantly look out for Vines of yourself fucking up eating a sandwich, while watching the Loop count go up quicker than miliseconds. But like it or not, this is 21st century theatre. As the curtain closes on the clusterfuck campaigning, here are the ten weirdest moments of #election2015 in no particular order.
DAVID CAMERON PLEDGES HIS ALLEGIANCE TO THE WRONG TEAM
What's that Dave? You support West Ham? I thought it was Aston Villa? Whether you like football or not, it's a well known fact that you don't forget which team you support. I went to school with a guy who covered his entire back with a tattoo of the Everton crest. It looked awful, but was emblematic (geddit) of the fact that football really is life, death, and shit tats. Tory boss David Cameron – who has long professed a lukewarm love for Aston Villa – told an audience in South London that "he'd rather they supported West Ham", to much bemusement.
It's fairly well documented that he doesn't even really like football, but the eternal quest to be seen as a man of the people goes on. Afterwards, he blamed the botch on a "brain fade". Listen mate, I'm not having it when you enslave people aged between 18-21 to work unpaid for benefits and blame it on a "brain fade". Ain't gonna wash. Anyway, we can argue about this more when we're at the soccerpark watching some kick goals, yeah?
#MILIFANDOM BEWITCHED AN ARMY OF TEENAGE VOTERS
Jesus, remember when Ed Miliband was a loser? Step forward Twitter and its ability to hurricane everybody into thinking more or less exactly the same thing. Once in the lower leagues of attractiveness alongside Ian Beale, Louis Walsh or Alan Carr, Miliband found himself elevated into the upper echelons of sexy, rubbing shoulders with other anti-hero neeks who (unofficially) command a legion of young devotees.
Benedict Cumberbatch has Cumberbitches, Tom Hiddleston has Hiddlestoners and this election campaign, Ed Miliband has landed himself with Milifans. Enraged by the media's treatment of the Labour leader, a 17-year old girl called Abby rushed to his aid, kicking off a pro-Miliband campaign that resonated with seemingly everyone. Ed's wife Justine reportedly "rolled her eyes" when she found out about the hysteria – she's probably been telling people he's a dreamboat for years.
NIGEL FARAGE SAID THAT IMMIGRANTS WITH HIV SHOULDN'T BE TREATED IN THE UK, THUS REVEALING HIMSELF TO HAVE NO SOUL
Any lingering suspicion that Farage might actually be half-interesting to have a pint with was eradicated during the first televised leaders debate when the UKIP final boss decided to use "immigrants with HIV" for political leverage. "I'm sure people will be mortified," he said. Quite. A moment as depressing as it was bizarre – a man on TV peddling his inhumane rhetoric for a shit like me to write about.
JOEY ESSEX TURNS POLITICAL CAMPAIGNER
Joey Essex, a chap who's made a fairly decent living out of being Britain's Most Stupid Man, alarmed and amused everybody when he turned up taking selfies with Nick Clegg, saying "Liberal Democats" a lot and declaring that he "only found out who the Prime Minister was a week ago". As part of his Educating Joey Essex documentary, the nationally revered moron met all the political leaders in a bid to wise up about what's goin' on in the Yoo-Kay.
While this #viral moment offered a momentary titillation in the vein of – ha, look it's that guy who doesn't know much hanging around with people who are meant to know stuff – on reflection, the incident cast a gloom over the campaign process.
Is this what they think our generation is really about? A man who thinks "Democrats" is a long word and believes that Richard and Judy are the ones who created the world? We deserve better....or actually, do we? Surely no other political leader could be as thirsty as to call on reality TV stars in order to make them appear voteable? Hang on....
DAVID CAMERON CLAIMS TO BE KIM KARDASHIAN'S 13TH COUSIN
Here he comes, King Of The Normal People, Mr I Watch TV Too. In an interview with Heat magazine, a struggling Cameron, fresh from being "Paxmanned" a week earlier, declared himself to be Kim Kardashian's 13th cousin, but said he had "no plans to see her". You're not the Christian family man that we had you down for, David.
D-Cam and Kimmy reportedly share an ancestor from the 16th century called William Spencer, born in 1555. Fortunately, "Spenno" as Bullingdon boy Cameron would no doubt call him, is well dead and has no idea how his legacy is being tossed around the internet.
THE SUN PRINTS ANTI-MILIBAND FRONT PAGE, PEOPLE SAY #JESUISED
The day before people headed to the polls, national incendaries the Sun printed a front page containing that photograph of Ed Miliband looking ghastly eating a sandwich. The text accompanying the image leans heavily on pig puns, prompting some to accuse the Sun of discussing-but-not-discussing Miliband's Jewish heritage.
Many people came out in support of Ed, posting of themselves looking like total twats while eating various things, mainly sandwiches, along with the hashtag #JeSuisEd. Originally a hashtag used to show solidarity with murdered journalists, you can now be JeSuis anything you want – JeSuisDrugs, Je SuisStuffILike, JeSuisManEatingSandwich. Who said everything was meaningless?
RUSSELL BRAND PERFORMS VOTING U-TURN
Not long after announcing to everyone that voting is shit and they shouldn't do it, Russell Brand ended up quite involved with the election, interviewing Ed Miliband for fifteen minutes in what turned out to be quite a dull endorsement of the Labour party. Brand should have gone harder, but it turned out to be a bit of love- in.
While all this was happening, an embittered David Cameron was calling Brand "a joke" and "some comic who thinks terrorism is funny". Brand, who used to express considerable disdain for the mere notion of voting, has now encouraged people to get down the polling stations and tick Labour. The only problem is that his endorsement came after registration closed.
STUDENT'S PANTS FALL DOWN IN FRONT OF NICK CLEGG
During a visit to Solihull, a 17-year old student called Will Carrie attempted to pose for a photo with Liberal Democrats leader Nick Clegg, but was distracted by his own jeans falling down, leaving him staring stone-faced into the distance, pushed towards the bushes by political aides.
Clegg clearly had no time for the student's wardrobe malfunction – you'd think he might be slightly more sympathetic to a member of a demographic that he completely lied to over tuition fees, in what was his first and last move as a politician. Instead, he stormed off in a huff towards his garish yellow bus to continue a campaign.
According to Carrie, the pantdropping episode was accidental and he "just wanted a selfie", but there's always a lingering suspicion with these made-for-Vine events that somewhere nearby lurk his giggling mates, absolutely wetting themselves as he drops his denim in front of the crowd. Here's hoping. He says he collects celebrity selfies but only has Michelle Keegan from Coronation Street so far. Bless.
THE LIBERAL DEMOCRATS DID A CASSETTEBOY-INSPIRED COVER OF UPTOWN FUNK THAT WAS SO SHIT THEY DELETED IT
In more turgid attempts to get the attention of the ever elusive youth, the Lib Dems looked around at what was vaguely popular and decided that Cassetteboy and Mark Ronson's "Uptown Funk" were pretty safe bets. Well I'd have bet my house and whatever else I could find that the Lib Dems would do a shit job of a "mash up". And boy, would I have been quids in.
This is fucking awful, watch through your hands stuff. Utterly humourless, non-informative and boring, the clip garnered an awful lot of "dislikes" on YouTube and has now been pulled by the Lib Dems. Luckily, someone else has uploaded the misery for us.
It's not just the Lib Dems who looked to popular culture for inspiration during the campaign. The Greens released an official song and UKIP bust out two unofficial anthems - one an ABBA cover recorded in the back of a pub, the other a racist calpyso tune. "Good stuff".
ED MILIBAND WAS LEFT OUT OF A GIRL POWER GROUP HUG
One of the stories of the televised leaders' debates was the displays of unity and power from Green leader Natalie Bennett, Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood and SNP boss Nicola Sturgeon. Pitted against the old boys of Westminster, the women more than held their own. This brilliant photo shows Ed Miliband looking forlornly in on a party he's simply not invited to and spawned a free-for-all caption competition that we got heavily involved with.
Of course these moments are all too familiar for the Labour leader, who over the course of his political career has been forever caught out by the ominpresence of cameras. But, this "incident" was pre-#milifandom and needless to say, he recovered. It was just another pothole on the weird and winding superhighway that was #election2015.