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Natural Law Party Election Broadcast (3 April 1992)

Courtesy of the Natural Law Party

Main image of Natural Law Party Election Broadcast (3 April 1992)
Tx. 3/4/1992, 5 mins, colour
SponsorThe Natural Law Party

The first election broadcast by the fringe party best known for its promotion of 'yogic flying'.

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One of the key electoral trends of the last 40 years has been the steady increase in the number of candidates fighting each election. From under 1,500 in 1951, it had grown to more than 3,500 in 2005. In other words, in 1951 an average of just 2.2 candidates contested each seat, with the majority of seats seeing just a straight fight between the two main parties; by 2005 the average had grown to 5.5 candidates per seat. In large part the increase has come about as a result of the growth in the Liberals (and successor parties) as well as the nationalists, the greens and so on. But in 1992, the ranks of parliamentary candidates were swelled by 309 from the Natural Law Party.

The party's platform was based on the concept of 'natural law', as described by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and the belief that all the problems of the world are caused by people violating natural law. It proposed the benefits of transcendental meditation. Its election broadcast can fairly be described as the most distinctive of the postwar era, and is most commonly remembered for a scene of party members engaging in 'yogic flying', although it is also worth watching for some of the to-camera speeches and for the benefits claimed for the party's policies.

Despite the support of ex-Beatle George Harrison - who performed for the party at a fund-raising concert at the Royal Albert Hall - and buying up some 6,500 poster sites, the party did not do especially well. They won just 0.4% of the vote, surpassing 1% in a mere five constituencies. Every candidate lost their deposit, and the party suffered the ignominy of trailing the Monster Raving Loony party.

The Natural Law Party went on to stand 196 candidates in the 1997 election, with similar results, as well as in other elections, before folding in early 2001, announcing that it would not fight the coming contest. Its official statement claimed: "In the past eight years, since we formed the Natural Law Party, our policies have been very much appreciated by politicians, the public, the media and professionals in all fields, but the system is really stacked against new parties and we don't get the media coverage or the votes". The last bit of that was certainly true.

Philip Cowley

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Video Clips
1. Yogic flying (0:47)
Complete broadcast (4:47)
Harrison, George (1943-2001)
Party Election Broadcasts