“I’ve got a vision for what the Labour Party should be, a vision that I want to paint in your mind using words – and that we can then paint together on the canvas of reality using actions. Through our common endeavour I know that we won’t run out of paint.”
So said the latest entrant into the leadership race, Jim Garner MP, in his introductory video. Except he isn’t a leadership candidate at all. In fact he doesn’t even exist.
Garner, the invention of Labour activists Conor Pope and Ben Furber, launched his spoof bid for Labour’s top spot on Monday.* The “campaign” was served with all the modern trimmings including a slick and, at a glance, convincing website. Within days the candidate had been interviewed by Total Politics, House of Twits and referenced by Guido, among others.
Hailing from the fictional constituency of South Luxton and Wetfield, Garner certainly promises to add some gaiety to the next few months and had the real candidates falling over themselves to show that they got the joke. Ed Miliband tweeted that Garner “had his vote” while his older brother joined the Jim Garner for Labour Leader Facebook group, even if the penny failed to drop for some:
You can say hello to Jim @JimGarnerMP.
*Scrapbook mentioned the launch in passing but this merited a proper post.