REMEMBER the monkey who became Hartlepools Mayor? Now meet Birminghams very own gorilla candidate.Retired policeman Ray Egan, the citys self-styled John Bull protester, launched his campaign to become elected mayor from the roof of the Big Peg in the Jewellery Quarter in March dressed as King Kong.Now Ray has scaled the heights of the Rotunda in the city centre to launch his manifesto on April Fools Day, again in the guise of the famous ape.
But he insisted his bid for political power was no laughing matter as he got in ahead of other candidates for Brums top job with an eye-catching publicity campaign.The 71-year-old arch-patriot, a familiar figure on the citys streets during industrial battles over Longbridge, LDV, Cadbury, HP Sauce and others, has drawn up a unique manifesto to woo the voters.Top of the list is the return from Penrith in Cumbria of the giant King Kong statue which once overlooked the Bull Ring markets.
And Ray, who pounded the beat for years on the streets of Handsworth, Ladywood and Winson Green, also plans to fight for a Red Light Tolerance Zone in the Jewellery Quarter and a cannabis cafe in Broad Street.
People might think Im a bit mad, but Im deadly serious, he said.
If the people of Birmingham decide in a referendum that they want an elected mayor, then I will pay my deposit and have a go.
They elected a monkey in Hartlepool. Why cant they elect a gorilla in Birmingham?
I may be launching my manifesto on April Fools Day but its nice to think I might end up having the last laugh.
Rays rivals in the race for Birminghams top job could be former Erdington MP Sion Simon, veteran Central news presenter Bob Warman who confirmed that he was considering standing and other potential candidates such as Birmingham Mail columnist Prof Carl Chinn or Sir Digby Jones.
Rays manifesto also includes supplying Union flags to every manufacturing site in the city and getting prisoners to paint neglected road signs.
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