British comedy character the Pub Landlord, played by stand-up comic Al Murray, recently announced that he would be running against the UKIP MEP and European parliament’s EFDD group co-chair Nigel Farage in the Kent constituency of South Thanet.
By throwing his hat (or shall we say pint) into the UK general election race and attracting the subsequent media attention, the Pub Landlord may well have raised the political bar on the UK's relationship with Europe.
Media reports suggest that the Pub landlord character's mock-xenophobic views could realistically impact on the final vote in May. Rajnish Singh caught up with Murray/the landlord ahead of a whistle stop trip to Brussels.
You said in your political broadcast that you plan to exit Europe, if you had to pick another continent for the UK to join which would you choose and why?
Good question. Obviously one of the things about being the UK is it could rock up anywhere and what with the whole world speaking English things would work out smoothly. But I think the UK could make a pretty good fist of it in South America. I’ve never seen an actual Brazilian, you see.
One of your opponents Nigel Farage is known for his less than impressive attendance record in the European parliament. Do you think he is taking liberties and if you are elected do you guarantee your regular attendance in the House of Commons?
I think you have to admire Farage for his consistency on the matter of his attendance. He doesn't like the place and what it stands for so why would he bother turning up. That's principle in action right there. And it is full of Germans and Frenchies and Italians and Belgians and whoever else is in the common market, so you can hardly blame him. But the [House of] Commons looks like an environment I am utterly suited to: late nights, blokes in ill-fitting suits shouting balls at each other about politics - it's a lock in!
"If a currency represents a state or institution's worth, the pound proves the UK is worth more than the whole of Europe put together. So - Europe goes on the pound"
Since Farage is an ex-city commodities broker, do you think he represents the average voter in South Thanet? And with the EU wishing to curb banker’s payouts what would you do with their bonuses?
I’d do what Ed Miliband (leader of the opposition Labour Party) and Balls (opposition Labour chancellor) have said they will do: ban bankers' bonuses and then pay for the national health service out of a tax on them. Joined up thinking. Nigel definitely represents a very average voter, yes.
The UK’s relationship with Europe has been described as a bad marriage. What marriage advice do you normally give to your punters and how would that apply to the EU?
Grow a beard, get yourself a false passport and vanish. That or make sure the other party is properly insured. Honestly though, the best solution to a bad marriage is often to hang on in there and maybe take up your own hobbies. In that regard maybe the UK could spend more time in the shed restoring its economy or something, while the rest of Europe does Book Club.
What common sense policies would you introduce to sort out the eurozone crisis?
Oh that’s easy. If a currency represents a state or institution's worth, the pound proves the UK is worth more than the whole of Europe put together. So - Europe goes on the pound. Simple. And is renamed the British Empire.
"Jean-Claude would be welcome any time in my gaff but only if he sorted me out with a tax break in Luxembourg"
If European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker came to your pub what tipple would you offer him and (apart from the British) who do you think are the best drinkers in Europe?
The Germans are the undisputed kings of continental drinking, their southern brethren in particular. Proof? Only someone completely shit-faced could imagine lederhosen is the way to go. Jean-Claude would be welcome any time in my gaff but only if he sorted me out with a tax break in Luxembourg.
Germans export their cars to the UK, the French their wine, the Belgians their beer, the Swedes their flat pack furniture and the Poles their plumbers. As a possible FUKP MP what do you think South Thanet and Britain can offer to Europe in return?
Squadrons of spitfires patrolling the Channel.
Finally who do you think would win in a drinking competition between German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president François Hollande and our own prime minister David Cameron?
Well, Angela would be given the ladies dispensation and be drinking glasses of white wine, Hollande would plough his way through that wine made from tables, and David Cameron would have got his butler in to do the drinking for him. It’s a win for the UK, yet again.
Al Murray will be performing his stand up full length solo-one man show, One Man, One Guv’nor, Saturday 24 January at Stand Up World, Theatre 140, Brussels.