In Depth

The fantasy Lib Dem leadership contest

Why settle for Nick Cable or Jo Swinson when you could have Lord Buckethead or Richard Dawkins?

After Tim Farron's resignation as Lib Dem leader, the race is wide open, with the BBC reporting that party bigwigs such as Vince Cable, Jo Swinson and Ed Davey are in the running to replace him. But perhaps this is the time for a really open race, with some outside-the-box thinking about who should take over...

Lord Buckethead

The obvious choice, as he shares a striking degree of common ground with the Lib Dems. For starters, Lord Buckethead opposes Brexit - or rather, his manifesto declares "a referendum should be held about whether there should be a second referendum".

Secondly, he's environmentally aware. Like the yellow party, the space lord doesn't want a third runway at Heathrow because "where we're going, we don't need runways".

On nuclear weapons, the Lib Dems want what they call a "part-time deterrent", or a step down the nuclear ladder. Buckethead has an ingenious solution: "A firm public commitment to build the £100bn renewal of the Trident weapons system, followed by an equally firm private commitment not to build it. They're secret submarines, no one will ever know. It's a win win."

Finally, the independent candidate for Maidenhead wants a "moratorium until 2022 on whether Birmingham should be converted into a star base". While the Lib Dems have no official policy on the matter, they're unlikely to disagree.

And, like all the best leadership candidates, Lord Buckethead has already ruled himself out.

Whoever's running the Lib Dem's Twitter account

Everyone's talking about how Jeremy Corbyn's social media strategy won over the young, but the Lib Dem press office is actually funny - and has been for a while.

Here's how they handled the Corbyn #traingate storm:

While they're certainly clear-eyed about the party's time in power:

Nor are the Twitter team above engaging in online fisticuffs with the Conservative press office - and when one civilian dared to suggest they stop because they "haven't even got enough MPs to set up a football team", they tweeted back: "We can do 5 a side and we will beat you."  

Could jokes translate into votes?

Richard Dawkins

If the Lib Dems are seeking to dissociate themselves from the unwanted attention attracted by Farron's Christianity, nobody represents muscular atheism more effectively than Richard Dawkins.

As he put it in The God Delusion: "The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving, control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sado-masochistic, capriciously malevolent bully."

The ungodly one is even an actual Lib Dem supporter - he tweeted last week he had voted for the party in Oxford West - and late last year, in a letter to The Guardian, Dawkins suggested that after the Richmond by-election victory they should change their name to "The European party" in order to ram home their anti-Brexit position.

And he's no fan of the Tories' putative alliance with the DUP:

Nigel Farage

OK, probably not a fantasy many Lib Dems share, but wait, it might make sense. Farage has form in taking a smaller party mainstream, plus a unique line in attention-grabbing.

Yeah, that's probably the extent of the common ground - but, as Twitter points out, there might be some unexpected benefits for liberals...

Dobby the house elf

Now, far be it from us to suggest a small, hardworking creature enslaved to an evil clan of Death Eaters bears any resemblance to the Lib Dems in the Conservative pact... but when the party was released from its indenture - sorry, coalition - it was hard not to detect a sense of relief. Now, Dobby the house elf is free - to campaign against Brexit and to reinstate housing benefit for young Muggles everywhere.

Now, Dobby the house elf is free - to campaign against Brexit and to reinstate housing benefit for young Muggles everywhere.

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