A prime minister who works in a hardware shop chats about VAT with two of his cabinet members, who just happen to DJ in their spare time. Hard to imagine from a political elite? You obviously haven't visited the Isle of Man.
This is a land where you can vote at 16, where Parliament is made up of not two, but three chambers, and where political fashion is not judged by the cut of your suit, but by the amount of facial hair you possess.
The Isle of Man is a self-governing dependent territory of the Crown, not part of the United Kingdom. With a population of 81,000, it is difficult to make comparisons between the island and its big neighbour in Westminster. But with Nick Clegg launching the "biggest shake-up of democracy since the 1832 Reform Act", Manx politics could provide vital schooling for the deputy prime minister.
The island was the first country in Western Europe to allow 16-year-olds to vote in national elections. It has even flirted with an alternative electoral system - switching to the single transferable vote (STV) in 1986 before turning back to FPTP.
Clegg's best mate David Cameron would do well to study the island for its vision of the Big Society. Politicians list their home numbers and addresses in the phonebook. And constituents greet their political representatives as old friends. Not a Mrs-Duffy-moment in sight.
In a coffee shop overlooking Castletown, the Isle of Man's chief minister, Tony Brown, plays with his cappuccino. He is talking animatedly about the "very personal politics" on the island. "We don't have a problem security-wise," he says. "People see you out and about. I get a car when I need it but I don't have one for every day. I don't need that kind of security."
Brown isn't necessarily how you would imagine the most important elected politician on the island.
"At the age of 19, I was riding motorbikes and I had blonde hair down here," he says, gesturing to his shoulders. "I was about 14½ stone and I ate even more chips than I eat today."
Despite being chief minister, he has only recently given up working in his electricians' shop, which he manned himself for 29 years. "Every Saturday afternoon I would be in the shop. But I had to decide whether I wanted to carry it on until my late 60s and I didn't."
The chief minister has just finished the morning ceremony for Tynwald Day, the annual outdoor sitting of Tynwald (the island's Parliament). It is an extraordinary example of civic pride, with crowds coming from all over the island to witness what is essentially a promulgation of laws.
Special guests at this year's ceremony include the chief of a native Indian seminole tribe from Florida, who "made a living wrestling alligators" as a young boy, and Andrew MacKinlay (former Labour MP), who helped the island with a reciprocal health agreement. There are even a few men dressed as Vikings in tribute to the island's ancestry.
But the ceremony has significance beyond the pageantry. "The importance of Tynwald Day is that it is a very proud day for us," says Brown. "Just because you wear gowns and wigs from a certain era, it doesn't mean you are backward in what you do. You can be as modern as you like."
And the island does like to be modern. Despite representing roughly the same number of people as a councillor in the UK, the access that constituents have to their politicians on the Isle of Man is unique.
Ever trawled through your MP's website to find a ‘contact me' page? Then four weeks later, you get a written response? That's not how it works on the Isle of Man.
All elected representatives are in the front of the phonebook. And it's not an office answering machine - it is their home number.
President of the island Noel Cringle explains: "At 8:55 this morning, my phone rang and a gentleman who I know asked if I would I be prepared to sign his application for a rifle licence. Ten minutes later he appeared at my house and I signed his forms for him and off he went."
Cringle is the island's second president, after the role was created in 1990 to give Tynwald more autonomy. A former auctioneer and farmer, Cringle read Hansard in his teens to feed his inner "political animal". Although the position requires him to be apolitical, he notes: "There are occasions when I let members know what I think. The Isle of Man is a very small place. We are all very well known in the communities. Our peers know us... they probably went to school with us!"
Campaigning on the island is similarly personal. "Most of us wouldn't have people knocking on doors on our behalf," the chief minister explains. "If I had people knocking on doors saying: ‘I'm here on behalf of Tony Brown...' you're dead. If you send someone around on your behalf that means you've not even bothered. It's just Manx politics".
Anne Craine, the island's Treasury minister, agrees. With over 7,500 people in her constituency she didn't manage to get around every door at the last election. "People will vote for the individual not for policies, because they trust that you will carry out the policies that are going to be best for them."
Craine is one of only three women in the entire Parliament, including her sister. She admits that the number of women in Tynwald is disproportionately low, but does not favour positive discrimination as a solution. "This is a pretty tough job and you have to have the best person for the job irrespective of gender."
The island was among the first countries to give women the vote in 1881, although there are still some less-than-progressive outlooks. Craine explains: "On the radio the other week, I was doing an interview with a local reporter and he said: ‘Do you strive to apply kitchen sink common sense?' I thought: ‘Where's that come from?' They don't even realise that they are sexist. You just have to have to ignore it."
Despite noteworthy achievements on electoral systems, voting age and practicalities - such as voice recognition for Hansard and electronic voting - there are some very traditional attitudes to overcome.
Sodomy laws existed on the island until 1994 and the age of consent for male homosexual acts was only lowered to 16 in 2006. The chief minister cites the law to legalise activities for homosexual adults as one of his most difficult challenges. "It was very, very controversial. Twice we tried to get the bill through and failed... I remember saying to my wife: ‘I am going to make a decision today which might mean that I won't get reelected. But it's the right decision to make.' I suppose that was the most difficult thing of my career."
Indeed, same-sex couples are still not eligible for all the same legal protections available to heterosexual married couples on the island (a civil partnership bill is working its way through Tynwald).
Even some of the constitutional reforms have been fractious. Craine was one of the few politicians to oppose moving the voting age to 16, but she maintains that her opposition is not ‘backwards'. "I don't think that the seriousness that should be applied in casting a vote for a government should necessarily be accorded to people under 18," she says.
But she has been pleasantly surprised, admitting: "When I arrived at the polling station at 8am on election day, one of my young constituents was there because he wanted to be one of the first people in Europe at the age of 16 to cast his vote. That delighted me."
Despite its independence, Manx politics is still at the mercy of the UK in certain areas. Because the island is guided by the UK's VAT structure, it had to adapt to changes made by the UK government last year. And it looks as though there might be more changes afoot. Alan Beith, newly elected chairman of the justice committee in Westminster explains that justice secretary Ken Clarke has hinted that responsibility for the crown dependencies might be moved away from the Ministry of Justice.
"This would not be particularly welcome in the crown dependencies who have settled with the MoJ," Beith says. "The justice ministry in our view hadn't fully discharged its responsibility to keep communication going between the UK and the Isle of Man government."
It might be impressive that your local MHK can sort out your broken streetlight at 10pm on the phone. Or that politicians can vote at a touch of a button. But this is not enough.
Despite its independence, the island relies on its external friends (even those who wrestle alligators for a living). Without good diplomatic relations in Westminster or the European Union, it doesn't matter how personal your politics is.
The Manx way of life may seem foreign to many MPs. But politicians on the Isle of Man want to remind Westminster just how close to home they really are.
Isle of Man politics: a beginner's guide to the oldest continuous Parliament in the world
Tynwald The Isle of Man's Parliament, founded in 979 AD. It is a three-chamber legislature made up of the House of Keys, the Legislative Council and Tynwald Court.
House of Keys The directly elected lower branch of Tynwald (like our House of Commons). Members are known as MHKs. At the last election, 21 out of the 24 seats were taken by independent members - the lack of political parties ensures decisions are made by consensus.
Legislative Council The upper chamber of Tynwald, comprising 11 members, known as MLCs. The council reviews legislation from the House of Keys and rarely starts the legislative process. Like the House of Lords, it can delay but not block decisions from the Keys. It is presided over by the President.
Tynwald Court Once a month the House of Keys joins with the Legislative Council to hold a special session where electronic voting is used. The President presides over the sitting.
Tynwald Day The annual ceremony in July announces all laws made in the last 18 months. If this is not done, the law becomes defunct. The ceremony, held on Tynwald Hill, is also the island's national day and a direct legacy from Viking ancestors.
Chief Minister Elected by fellow members of Tynwald after a general election, the chief minister is the executive member of the island's Parliament, serving a five-year term in office. The post was introduced in 1986, and is currently held by Tony Brown.
The President Noel Cringle is the island's second president, elected in 2000. The role was created in 1990 and involves presiding over Tynwald Court and being chairman of the Legislative Council. The President sits in a chair made of kangaroo skin, a present from the Australian Parliament in 1979.
This article was first published in Total Politics magazine.