A FAMILIAR name will be missing from ballot papers in this year’s General Election.
But Honley’s Melodie Staniforth – who has stood for the Monster Raving Loony Party in every poll since 1992 – has found another way of drawing attention to herself.
Melodie – better known in her canvassing days as Boney Maroney – has put down her rosette and picked up a pen. The 53-year-old is two years in to a three-year degree in illustration at the University of Huddersfield.
And she’s not missing the campaign trail. Melodie said: “I’m having a wonderful break from politics. It feels marvellous to watch the election from the sidelines without being in the thick of it.”
The mother-of-four has finally found an outlet for her passion for drawing.
She said: “I’ve always had an interest in art. Every time I visited a new place I would head straight for the art galleries. I’ve been doing black and white sketches for years.
“But back in the 1970s there was no chance of further education, it was straight into the mills. I started out as a mender at Josiah France’s in Honley at 15.”
But in 2008 Melodie signed up as full-time mature student at the University of Huddersfield. She said: “It’s a fantastic place to study, the staff are really good at their jobs.”
Given her political background, it’s no surprise that Melodie’s sketches are a little unusual.
She said: “It’s not run-of-the-mill stuff, I don’t see things normally. I just put my pen to the paper and go with the flow.
“My drawing is Tim Burton-style. I can’t put a name to it but it’s off-the-wall and surreal.”
Melodie was a friend of the late Screaming Lord Sutch, legendary founder of the Monster Raving Loony Party. He gave her the nickname Boney Maroney in honour of her slight frame. And Melodie used that name to fight in every general election from 1992 to 2005.
She started out in her native Colne Valley, picking up 160 votes there in 1992 and 196 votes five years later. In 2001 she took on Conservative leader William Hague in Richmond, pulling in 561 votes.
And four years later she stood against prime minister Tony Blair in Sedgefield, where 157 people backed her manifesto, which included turning all motorways into cycle tracks and introducing a 99p coin to save on change.
Melodie became deputy leader of the Monster Raving Loony Party in 1999. But in 2007 she left after a series of clashes with party leader Alan “Howling Laud” Hope.
Melodie has no plans to return. She said: “I’ve been asked to go back but I want to get some fresh air. We had some run-ins because the constitution isn’t democratic, it allows Alan Hope to lead the party until he dies.
“There are some bright young people coming up in the party but they aren’t given the chance to shine.”
Melodie tried to set up a rival group – the Blah Party – with Captain Sensible, lead singer of punk band The Damned.
She said: “He wanted to run the party but, when he saw all the paperwork involved, he ran a mile. The party folded last year, it’s non-existent at the moment and I don’t think it will be resurrected.”
Melodie is looking forward to an unfamiliar experience on election night – watching it all on TV.