Aspiring Independent candidate in Chingford changes his name to “None Of The Above”

From the Waltham Forest Guardian:

An aspiring MP has gone to extreme lengths to protest against the three main political parties.

Adam Osen, 50, has officially changed his name to None Of The Above and hopes to attract support from disillusioned voters as an independent parliamentary candidate for Chingford and Woodford Green.

The move was suggested by Mr Above’s brother, Gideon, who took the idea from the film Brewster’s Millions, which sees a character run a political campaign under the same slogan.

The former Mr Osen, a painter and decorator of Woodberry Way in Chingford, said his wife, Rebecca, 43, tried to talk him out of the move and many did not believe he would go through with it.

However, he admitted his two children, Gabrielle, 18, and Michael, 15, were less surprised as he has a reputation for coming up with “off the wall” ideas.

Mr Above, or None as he is known to friends, has lost faith in Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative parties since the MPs’ expenses scandal.

I spoke to Geoff Seeff, Liberal Democrat PPC for Chingford and Woodford Green, who said,

We as Liberal Democrats are protesting against the main parties as well.

Clearly we want to change the political system and the electoral system – the other two parties shouldn’t get anywhere near Parliament.

This man is wasting his time: don’t bother to stand as “None Of The Above” – Vote Lib Dem and change the way we do politics.

So is a name change like this allowed? As a Parliamentary Committee pointed out (see paragraph 136), powers exist “for the courts to rule out the use of names which were intended to mislead the electorate.”

This has happened before, with varying success. A famous early example is from the Glasgow Hillhead by-election of 1982, where a candidate who had changed his name to Roy Harold Jenkins stood against Roy Harris Jenkins of the Social Democratic Party.

The SDP took Roy Harold Jenkins to court, citing the Representation of the People Act and claiming that he was attempting to mislead the electorate. Although they were unsuccessful in the legal action, the SDP successfully drew voters’ attention to their Roy Jenkins’ position on the ballot paper and the other Jenkins only took 282 votes. One of the ways the SDP did this was by placing volunteers (including a young Charles Kennedy) near polling stations, wearing sandwich boards which read, “The real Roy Jenkins is number 5.”

At the 1997 General Election, a prospective candidate calling himself, “Sir Nicholas Lyell” was not permitted to stand against the Conservative candidate of the same name.

Is “None Of The Above” enough to confuse voters into thinking they’re voting for no candidate when really they’re voting for an actual candidate? Is Mr Above likely to poach votes from other candidates? Misleading or a harmless gimmick?

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23 Comments

  • Tony Greaves 5th Jan '10 - 9:36pm

    The daft thing about this of course is that if he is calling himself “Mr Above” he is likely to be at the top of the ballot paper and not the bottom. He should have called himself “None of the Below”. He’ll get the usual 500 votes for idiots.

    Tony Greaves

  • Chris Keating 5th Jan '10 - 9:57pm

    I was about to post that very same thing. What a muppet.

  • I thought the surname came first on the ballot paper, followed by any forenames. If so, he should have called himself Mr “Of The Above None” – which would have appeared on the ballot as:

    NONE, Of The Above (Plonker Party)

    …still leaving Geoff below, as Mark notes.

    A lost deposit in any event.

  • Matthew Huntbach 7th Jan '10 - 11:57am

    I like to ask people who say “None of the above”, “well, ok, what do you want that isn’t already on offer – and is a logical coherent and possible set of policies?”.

    I have never yet got an answer to that one. Mostly when people say “all the parties are bad” they are disappointed because none of them is offering less tax and more state spending, or some other such mutually contradictory policies.

  • Malcolm Todd 10th Jan '10 - 9:58pm

    I’m afraid you’re a little under-researched, None. (You don’t mind if I call you None?) You’re thinking of the European election ballot papers, held under a different system, with party lists. In general elections (like all elections involving individual candidates) you’re ordered by surname, not party.

  • None of the above, your an absoloute legend.

  • Matthew Huntbach 12th Jan '10 - 10:43am

    None of the above


    since you mentioned it I believe the answer to our current economic problems is to spend less, not tax more

    So why don’t you call yourself “same as above” then?

  • Matthew Huntbach 12th Jan '10 - 10:56am

    None of the above


    If you want to see my manifesto go to http://www.noneabove.com.

    Have just done so. It seems to contradict what you wrote in your message.

    E.g.


    There are too many children leaving school unable to read fluently, write and do maths. One thing that would change this drastically is to reduce class sizes in the primary schools allowing each child more teacher time.

    Yes, so there would need to be more teachers and more classrooms. But you said you wanted to reduce tax and reduce the number of employees. This is what you gave in your message above as your MAIN aim. So you are just contradicting yourself when your details involve things which would require more employees and more tax to pay them.


    In hospitals I am reminded of the same thing. Almost every person working there knows what they are doing, works hard and cares about the patients.

    But this contradicts what you say about there being lots of people doing non-essential jobs and your main aim being identifying them and throwing those people out of their jobs.

    Most of the rest of what you say in your manifesto seems to be “I don’t really have a clue, but I have good intentions”.

    I think that may also count as “same as above”.

  • Matthew Huntbach,

    Whilst I’m a Lib Dem supporter (really must get those leaflets out whilst we’re snow-free here).

    To answer your question, I would like a party which has real integrity. The Lib Dems behaved pretty shamefully in the expenses scandal, it was quite clear that the Lib Dems do not personally see it as important to limit their expenditure of taxpayers money. Nick’s Rose Garden, Lord Rennard’s 2nd home. They were quite happy to pamper themselves at tax-payers expense and worse, after it became obvious this was not acceptable to the tax payers. They didn’t consider it worth taking any action,when they saw that no other party was going to either.

    It leaves the Lib Dems with the position ‘well we’re really abit less corrupt than the other chaps’.

    Now, in fptp and with our commitment to a change in voting system the Lib Dems are still the most sensible party to vote for. But it really does pain me to see the Executive drop the ball on such an easy way to promote our values just because they lack integrity.

  • Gordon Palmer 19th Jan '10 - 12:45pm

    Matthew and others

    I think you have made the easy mistake of assuming that None of the Above is a fool ( I think the phrase used was Muppet)

    From the responses it is clear that Mr Above is far from being stupid. He is clearly more intelligent than Matthew who seems to be stuck in the party political mindset right or wrong.

    Maybe he needs some assistance on the minutiae of the political process such as whether the ballot paper is alphabetical by first or last name or whether indeed it is written in iambic pentameter or as an inverse alphabetic acrostic but that is a minor issue. Look at the big picture and see what he is saying.

    Those who challenge the system are often accused by the establishment of being on the lunatic fringe but all of us including the lib dems should sit up and listen to people like Mr Above who clearly has ideas beyond the imagination of party wonks who write in these forums.

    He isn’t in my constituency but if he were, I would vote for him. I might even be persuaded to canvass for him.

    If I were the lib dem candidate in Chingford, I would be very worried right now. Perhaps it won’t be Mr Above that loses his deposit……

  • none of the above 19th Jan '10 - 8:52pm

    Gordon
    Thank you for your very kind comments.
    None

  • Matthew Huntbach 22nd Jan '10 - 10:30pm

    Gordon Palmer


    From the responses it is clear that Mr Above is far from being stupid. He is clearly more intelligent than Matthew who seems to be stuck in the party political mindset right or wrong.

    If you look at my contributions to Liberal Democrat Voice, I think you will find I am rather far removed from having a “party political mindset right or wrong”, in fact I tend to be very criticval of the LIberal Democrats, and particularly of its leadership. Whether what I write manages to reach in intelligence the level of Mr Above’s material in his website, well, that obviously isn’t for me to judge.

  • PAUL HARPER 4th Feb '10 - 1:30pm

    Mr None’s education policy is wrong! We need to lower the amount of subjects on the curriculum, not the amount of pupils in the class! English literacy, English language and basic Arithmetic are the neccessities that will be needed in these pupil’s future life. Once these subjects are “MASTERED” the rest will be easier! Pupils must attain a “GOOD” grade in these three areas before moving on to History, Geography etc. and not before! If you cannot read or write acceptably then what is the point of doing another subject?

  • In The Real World 24th Apr '10 - 12:58pm

    Mr None of the above has failed to take part in helping the residents in his own street when they got together to fight a planning application which would havecaused numerous problems to the residents one of which being a lift shaft running up the party wall with the machinery next door to their bedroom,which would have been operational 24hours a day. If he has no interest in his own neigbours needs then how is he supposed to help a whole constituency. Please correct me if I am wrong but I dont believe you have done anthing in your community or would be constituency that would actually help people.
    Before you say you havent had the opportunity I know of a member of the public who set up the whipps cross campaign to save the hospital, without funds or prior knowlegde in this field she tells me she did it because she didnt want to see the hospital close, this was another opportunity to offer your help and make a difference that you did not take.
    Do you honestly believe that changing your name to something stupid and spouting out unoriginal content is the way to gain the trust of the constituents

  • Chingfordian 24th Apr '10 - 2:50pm

    Personally i don’t care what his name is, Sure None of the Above is a way to catch someones eye. After all it sure is better than ‘deliberately’ writing “For Britian” on their campaign leaflet.

    However i honestly do believe that he would be better for Chingford than the other candidates that run here. For one i find Cath Arakelian to be a very irritating person who looks like she been thrown in at the deep end. Barry White seems to be ‘fighting for whats right’ instead of what would actually be best, Whilst Nick Jones seems to have only two aims, neither i think are really important right now.
    Oh and i’m just going to ignore Julian Leppert for now.

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