A Shadee candidate

John Denham's recent list of "inter-faith" advisers contained no Roman Catholics, no Humanists, no Quakers, no Buddhists and no followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Nor were there any pagans on the list. They will have to seek out representation in other ways. One such enterprising old religionist, "Magus" Lynius Shadee has announced his intention to stand at the forthcoming general election for the hotly-contested seat of Cambridge.

According to Cambridge News, Shadee styles himself "King of All Witches" and "hopes to cast a spell on voters and steer them away from the traditional parties." Tee Hee. I'm not sure how he got to be King of All Witches; I doubt, however, that every single witch in the world, or even in England for that matter, was consulted about the matter. I didn't even know that witches had kings, and I'm willing to bet plenty of witches didn't realise it either. I note that another top male witch (the correct term for which, I gather, is just "witch" - though it sounds a little odd) called Kevin Carlyon describes himself as "living god of all witches", which knocks Shadee's kinghood into a pointy hat. I note also that the leading pagan blog Wild Hunt dismissed the Magus last year as "a publicity starved occultist" and accused him of carrying out a "brazenly idiotic" stunt - calling up a demon to possess a church - just to annoy local Catholics.

Shadee has been making quite a name for himself recently, it turns out. When he announced plans late last year to open an "Occult Centre" in the city, Father David Paul described it as "a shockingly bad thing for Cambridge." "Whilst it is obviously a load of nonsense it will appeal to people who are in distress or are vulnerable," added the representative of the Roman Catholic Church. "It really is manipulation of people's fears and a complete fraud." Another local clergyman went to the trouble of visiting Shadee's current Occult Centre in Normandy. "What really struck us was the intense and extreme cold in the rooms," he reported. Most people would have concluded that the Magus ought to turn the heating up, but Rev Ian Church saw it as evidence that "Mr Shadee is most certainly an occultist in the truest form and I am of no doubt of the powers he can summon". His presence in Cambridge, the reverend added, would lead to "an epidemic of anti-faiths." One can but hope.

But no matter. King or no king, Shadee is evidently some sort of witch; and wishes to stand for Parliament. Not only that, he's setting up a political party and hopes to field candidates in several constituencies. The important question then becomes, what are his policies? Stereotype would suggest tree-hugging, feminism and increased state funding for quack remedies, but not a bit of it. The Magus favours:

- turning Britain into "a truly secular society by banning faith schools and the teaching of religious education."

- MPs to be paid only when they turn up for work

- shorter degree courses

- compulsory uniforms in all schools

- abolition of charitable status for religious institutions

- open access to the sex offenders' register

- part-privatisation of the NHS

- higher tax on alcohol sold in supermarkets

- prisoners should pay for their keep and life should "mean life" for serious murderers

Magus Shadee's platform reads like an odd mixture of UKIP and the National Secular Society, and not particularly witchy at all. Perhaps he's taking a tip from the success of Dan Halloran, a follower of the Norse gods elected to New York City council in November on a Republican ticket. But in that case, what's with all the witch business? Although the official Conservative candidate was contemptuous of "Mr Shadee's eccentric views", I suspect that many Tory voters would agree with at least some of his ideas. But who's likely to vote for a "king of the witches" who apparently models himself on something out of Harry Potter? Not even other witches.


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