Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
2 April 2015

Who would Doctor Who vote for?

David Tennant's backing Labour, but what side would the Doctor come down on?

By Pete May

For fans of Doctor Who there can only be one question on 7 May. Who would get the Doctor’s vote? With the main parties playing it bland, the Time Lord Test might be as reliable as anything else.

Surprisingly, there are some arguments that the Doctor might be a Tory. During his travels he has cosied up to English establishment figures like Queen Victoria, in the form of David Tennant having problems with werewolves in Tooth and Claw. Though he was subsequently banished from the British Empire by Queen Vic. He was also great mates with Winston Churchill, helping with the war effort in Matt Smith’s Victory of the Daleks. Not to mention David Tennant’s Doctor marrying Elizabeth 1 in The Day of the Doctor, suggesting he is a committed monarchist.

The Doctor might also approve of David Cameron’s support for gay marriage as the evidence suggests he is open-minded on LGBT issues. Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant’s Doctors both travelled with Captain Jack, a libidinous space agent prepared to sleep with all species regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. While Matt Smith’s Doctor was supportive of the relationship between Silurian Madame Vastra and her human wife, Jenny.

It’s also possible that the Doctor went to a Gallifreyan public school, as he displays great ability at cricket in Black Orchid and has been involved in an emotionally constrained relationship with his former school friend, the Master. And the Doctor is, after all, a Time Lord. Therefore he could bond with a fellow posh boy like Cameron.

On the other side of the political universe, the Doctor also shows signs of being a left wing firebrand. Peter Capaldi’s Scottish Doctor probably still resents the poll tax, while Patrick Troughton’s Doctor spent three years travelling with Jamie McCrimmon, a kilt-wearing Jacobite piper whom he picked up in the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

Indeed, the Doctor has a history of supporting self-determination of indigenous peoples and liberating numerous citadels on downtrodden planets. Special Branch probably have files on both the Doctor and Harriet Harman. It’s also revealing that when confronted by Helen A, a Thatcher parody (rather like David Cameron) in The Happiness Patrol, Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor sided with the downtrodden Drones and the Pipe People.

Content from our partners
How to create a responsible form of “buy now, pay later”
“Unions are helping improve conditions for drivers like me”
Transport is the core of levelling up

Or could he be a woolly liberal? Tom Baker agonised like a Guardian reader over whether to destroy the Daleks at birth in Genesis of the Daleks. He muttered, “Do I have the right?” and reflected that although he could save millions of lives he would be no better than the Daleks if he killed. He felt that out of the Daleks’ evil must come some good as whole planets united against them, before losing the chance to destroy them through his indecision. This suggests the Doctor would perhaps have supported Ed Miliband’s stance on not bombing Syria.

As a parent and grandparent the Doctor might be sympathetic to the Labour Party’s promise to reduce tuition fees to £6,000. On the planet Messaline, David Tennant was forced to place his hand in a progenation machine, which used his DNA to produce his daughter Jenny in The Doctor’s Daughter. William Hartnell’s Doctor also had a granddaughter Susan, who married Earthman David at the end of The Dalek Invasion of Earth. So, should Jenny have come to Earth, it’s possible the Doctor now has both a daughter and great grandchildren accruing hefty debts for higher education.

Rather disturbingly, Ukip might also have a claim on the Doctor’s vote. Like Nigel Farage he is an outsider who drinks alcohol (sharing a glass of red wine with a Slitheen and dancing to Queen songs at Amy and Rory’s wedding) refuses to be spin-doctored and thinks he speaks up for those ignored by the existing political system.

Though it’s doubtful if he could accept leaving the EU. In the past he’s been on the side of political union, having been broadly supportive of Peladon joining the Galactic Federation in The Curse of Peladon. Despite the Doctor’s anti-militarism, his CV also includes several years working for the Geneva-based United Nations Intelligence Task Force (UNIT), suggesting he is opposed to rigid nationalism. He felt constrained by the rigid bureacratic society of the Time Lords on Gallifrey and might feel similarly hostile to Brussels’ red tape, but he would surely choose reform rather than withdrawal.

The Doctor would have big problems with Ukip’s policy on immigration though. Jon Pertwee’s Doctor was an asylum seeker on Earth for several years in the 1970s, having been banned from space travel by the Time Lords, and arguably took a British job while in UNIT. The Doctor was highly critical of the human race’s tendency to see all aliens as hostile in the The Ambassadors of Death. He was appalled when Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart blew up the caves of the Silurians, Earth’s oldest inhabitants, in Doctor Who and the Silurians.

The Greens could also plausibly claim the Doctor — though his addiction to crash landings in the Tardis suggests that he might be more Jeremy Clarkson in his attitude to 20 mph speed limits. The Doctor has solid eco-credentials, fighting giant-maggots created through pollution from evil multinational Global Chemicals in The Green Death. In the same story his companion Jo Grant married eco-protestor Professor Cliff Jones, a 1970s version of George Monbiot. He also thwarted Davros’ Universe-threatening Reality Bomb in Journey’s End and might therefore oppose renewing Trident. He might also identify with Green leader Natalie Bennett, having suffered a number of ‘brain fades’ himself after difficult regenerations.

The only party he might not vote for is Nick Clegg’s Lib-Dems. The Doctor was threatened by a coalition of the most evil creatures in the Universe — Daleks, Cybermen, Sontarans, Sycorax, Silurians, Judoon and Autons — in The Pandorica Opens and The Big Bang. With Amy apparently dead, they sealed him in an inescapable prison, presumably leaving him feeling a bit like Vince Cable. It’s only on his escape that the Doctor manages to reboot the Universe. Therefore it’s safe to say the Doctor is probably not too keen on alliances with monstrous forces.

Pete May’s memoir Whovian Dad: Doctor Who, Fandom and Fatherhood is available on Amazon.