"Can't someone else do it?" — Ireland Simpsons Fans Facebook group is now a political party
So it's come to this: A Simpsons political party.
On Thursday morning, popular Facebook group Ireland Simpsons Fans — known for its crowdsourced Simpsons memes on subjects such as Irish republicanism, Brexit and everything under the sun — officially announced its intention to become a political party.
The group, which was created in early 2016, has since pulled 103,000 members from all over the world, and has been featured in the international media. The page's rise to prominence was also the subject of an in-depth feature on JOE earlier this year.
In a tweet published on Thursday morning, admins behind the group wrote: "For years we have asked “Can’t someone else do it?” - and we are that someone else. The ISF Party is Ireland’s newest all-island political party."
Speaking to JOE, the group's co-founder Jack Leahy said: "The original idea was to directly, in a kind-of parody but also semi-serious way, take on far-right candidates and put token candidates in whatever constituencies they run in and defeat them.
"The threshold for a legitimate political party in Ireland is 300 members so it does certainly raise the question of where we can go. But what kind of state is Irish politics in if people are like 'Yeah, this is the thing, Simpsons, gimme.'"
— Ireland Simpsons Fans (@iresimpsonsfans) September 19, 2019
In just a matter of hours, the party has reached the threshold needed to be recognised as a legitimate political party. They have also reached over 7,000 Twitter followers — more than political parties Renua or Aontú, who are regularly included in election polls.
While there is no official manifesto as of yet, Leahy says that people are joining based on the sort of values that are often espoused in the ISF group.
"They'd be correct to assume that," he said.
"The plan was to spend this evening using Simpsons memes to tweet various highly progressive things. There's a lot of material in 'No on 24' and all that. General distaste for landlords, capitalism, anti-choice people... that's all part of the package. I'm someone who really wants to see a viable left-wing thing in Ireland."
The party's website is littered with delightful Simpsons references (their tagline is 'A Perfectly Cromulent Political Party'), and whatever happens, it seems that the party will stick to its line of communicating through the medium of Matt Groening's iconic cartoon.
Asked what the best-case scenario for the ISF Party is, Leahy said: "In the short term, we're definitely going to register as a political party, and long-term, who knows?
"It could just be putting up posters mocking shit right-wing candidates, or you particularly target certain people to take votes of them. Those are the possibilities that I can see."
Leahy says he's not expecting to see anyone standing up in Dáil Éireann to say "Fuck you, Deputy Simspon" any time soon, but having witnessed the exponential growth of his original group, it might not be as far-fetched a prospect as he thinks.