British voters on Thursday will participate in the closest national election in decades, ending months of political campaigning that at times veered into the absurd.
The two main parties, Labour and Conservative, remain neck-and-neck in the polls. If neither wins a majority of seats in Parliament, they will need to gain the support of smaller parties, which range from Scottish nationalists to vehement Eurosceptics, to form a government.
There are serious issues at stake in the election. The Conservatives have promised a referendum on whether to stay in the European Union. The future of the union between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland -- the countries in the United Kingdom -- is under intense debate after last year’s unsuccessful Scottish independence referendum.
Yet, the election campaign has not been short of comic moments. The party leaders -- including Labour's Ed Miliband and Conservative leader and current Prime Minister David Cameron -- have been heaped with ridicule, and sometimes thoroughly earned it, in the build-up to the 2015 election.
1. Even children tire of David Cameron
And he's not even reading from his campaign manifesto.
ELECTION Photo du Jour: David Cameron meets pupils at Sacred Heart RC School in Westhoughton. By Stefan Rousseau/PA pic.twitter.com/UE6qS5wm22
— Stefan Rousseau (@StefanRousseau) April 8, 2015
2. Edward Miliband vows that his election promises are carved in stone
Did he take it all a bit too literally?
3. Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg goes bowling ...
He should probably show off at a sport that he’s actually good at.
4. ... While Miliband plays pool
Maybe he shouldn't be so shocked when he is actually good at it?
— ITV News (@itvnews) April 16, 2015
5. Cameron tells us how he really feels
The prime minister accidentally called the election 'career defining,' instead of 'country defining,' at a campaign event in Yorkshire.
6. Miliband became the least likely sex symbol of all time
He was regularly compared to cartoon character Wallace from "Wallace & Gromit." He was incessantly teased for making gaffes, being clumsy and looking weird.
Then, something strange happened. Miliband grew a huge female fan base, which recast him as a nerd-chic hero and lovable underdog, and #Milifandom was born. (Unfortunately for Miliband, the teenager who started the craze is not old enough to vote, and her parents support the Conservatives.)
— Linny Kong (@LinnyBobWaffle) April 26, 2015
— Teresa McMahon (@teresamcmahon4) April 28, 2015
— last (@onepoundfifty) April 26, 2015
— shae. (@annamariiax) April 21, 2015
7. Miliband even got mobbed by a hen party
So this is the British version of the bachelorette party.
8. But his party’s attempt to woo women voters fell pretty flat
Female Labour politicians took a bright pink minibus on tour to reach female voters "around the kitchen sink." Definitely not patronizing. Not at all.
And the pink bus has arrived at Labour's Women's Manifesto launch pic.twitter.com/3EyMXkjVgu
— Siobhan Fenton (@SiobhanFenton) April 15, 2015
9. The bacon sandwich-eating contest
After Miliband earned widespread ridicule last year for his inelegant eating of a bacon sandwich, the other party leaders tried to prove they could do it better.
— James Martin (@ByJamesMartin) May 21, 2014
First, Clegg had a go.
— The Independent (@Independent) May 29, 2014
Then, U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage thought he’d show how it's done.
— The Grauniad (@grauniad) October 2, 2014
Cameron decided not to risk a mess, and tackled a hot dog with a knife and fork -- earning even more ridicule.
— HuffPost UK (@HuffPostUK) April 7, 2015
10. The tough-guy contest
Miliband offers fighting talk on Britain’s Channel 4 television.
Clegg tells British radio that he pictures Labour finance chief Ed Balls when kickboxing.
Cameron brags to a bunch of kids about using martial art jiujitsu on UKIP leader Farage, but then tells the adults he was just joking.
All of which is summed up perfectly in this mash-up by the BBC’s "Newsnight" program: