It combines social media, crowdsourcing and popular debate. Arsekicker, Kickstarter’s new little brother, will allow members of the public to vote for, fund and watch the kicking of a selected arse, in the run up to the European Elections.
‘It came to me while I was watching Daytime TV’ said Arsekicker’s originator Nick Smith. ‘How many people would like to see Kirstie Allsop given a kick in that arse? Then I thought how many people would vote for said arsekick? Then – and this got me excited – how many people would PAY to see, say Ben Fogle or Ed Balls given a surprise boot in the jacksy?’
‘The rest was easy. We made what we call a ‘low hanging fruit’ list. The kind of people that would make it work. Charles Saatchi, Michael Gove, and basically anyone off of The Shopping Channel. Andrew Neil, Nigel Lawson, the list goes on. But the main focus was on the system and the software. KIckstarter was a great model. Just see how many people would pledge cash for kicks. But then we needed kickers. Their costs, including travel and possible fines would have to be covered. It soon became clear that there would be no problem. In a beta trial we raised fifteen thousand pounds to have Jimmy Carr kicked in the pants. And at least seven hundred and twenty people were prepared to go the kicking distance for Christine Hamilton. The Top Gear team held a secret meeting to discuss ‘how to cover Jeremy’s arse’. Many climate change deniers publicly went shopping for solar panels.
Smith was ‘amazed’ at the response. Arsekicker’s YouTube Channel, even in Beta, was pulling in tens of thousands of pounds in video advertising, after Boris Johnson got kicked in his London Assembly. Meanwhile, magistrates showed a surprising leniency for the kickers who were charged with common assault. When Lenny Henry appeared on TV, complaining there wasn’t enough Lenny Henry on TV, the well paid kicker lurking for him outside the studio ended up with a caution. Meanwhile, Jim Davidson unsuccessfully attempted to kick himself in the arse to ‘short circuit’ the process. One day after launch, Question Time from Colchester had to be recorded without an audience, and it’s understood panellists resorted trying to kick each other up the arse after the debate fell flat.
Now, political commentators are starting to worry that Arsekicker could replace politics as we know it. BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson received a live kick up the bum on BBC News at 10, which earned Arsekicker shareholders £730,429. Showing slight discomfort and predicting a low turn out at Thursday's poll, he asked ‘Now that people can vote online for an outcome they can see and enjoy, will they stop expressing preferences in the ballot box? Is Arsekicker a slap in the face for democracy?’