A simple idea, brilliantly executed.

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MarkThomas.gifMark Thomas is currently touring his Manifesto, and it's a great show. The concept is simple. Each night members of the audience suggest policies they like, and then they choose between the submissions. 

It's a "guided democracy", taking account of his preferences. All the ones about hanging go in the bin, apart from the Hanging Register. Only supporters of hanging are hanged when they screw up - ingenious.

He then campaigns on some of the policies his audiences pick. Some are semi-sensible: he's got a team from NEF working on a kind of SATs-type scoring system for MPs. Others seem absurd, but have a serious point. I'm annoyed about tax evasion, but not convinced that invading Jersey to go and get it back is the right answer. Still, protesting outside the MoD with INVADE JERSEY is certainly imaginative. Even making Parliament play the Benny Hill theme if it all kicks off has a kind of perverse sense to it.

We saw it last night, and tonight's was the final show in Edinburgh. Except for one more extra-special one - he's putting all thirteen submissions from Edinburgh to a cross-party panel of MSPs, including Patrick Harvie of this parish. It should be a good gig.

Personally I'd like to see him stand for election himself. If Al Franken can stand and win, so can Mark Thomas. He's swum Douglas Hogg's infamous moat. We've given him the policies. He's ready.


I don't have a bad word to say about mark Thomas.

Well, perhaps a few...

I grew up watching his Comedy product show (loved it) and I saw him at the Festival of Politics last year (superb) and some of his madcap antics are inspired.

But when you place yourself so squarely on the outside, on the reactionary wing of Politics, you have to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Mark Thomas will never, ever become a politician because it would be too difficult a path for him. Getting things done is a difficult task and it's much easier to sit on the sidelines and poke fun at those trying their best. His adulation would slide upon taking his seat in Westminster and, understandably, he won't want to let go of that.

That aside, he's a great lad and there is a desperate need for what he does but, as I say, pinch of salt required.

Looking forward to seeing this manifesto too.

I disagree: at the show at lunchtime he was really practical, trying to get the almost-cross party panel (Liberals didn't put anyone up) to come to consensus.

Also, between shows he does try to get things done, that was my point. It's a fulltime job, not just evenings in front of a mike, and I think he'd be great.

Surely you'd like to see him take part in FMQs or PMQs?

Oh yes, it would be ace having him in either Parliament. A definite step up from the average politician.

I think he'd walk most constituencies too (if George Galloway can do it, Mark T certainly can)

I just think the day to day frustration of being an MP/MSP would be too much for him, not that the role he's opted for isn't important or needed to be filled. Would he really want to answer old ladies' queries about their recycling? I just think people like Mark Thomas can be glorified far too easily with their smash'n'grab approach to Politics. Rab McNeill is similar, though less global of course.

Any chance you could review the show? I'd have loved to have been there and intrigued who was there representing parties.

Wish I worked in the Parliament and had August off to be a Festival darling! (*sigh*)

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