Steve Rushin is brilliant on the true outrage of the US's political system - it's bias against bald men (via Norm). In this, Britain and America are united; as Christie Davies has pointed out, we haven't elected a bald PM since the 1950s either.
Why is there this discrimination? Three things make it especially puzzling:
1. Bald Prime Ministers have been good. Churchill, Attlee and Gladstone are, arguably, our three greatest ever PMs, even though between them they didn't have enough hair to string a ukulele. What we have here is therefore taste discrimination, not statistical discrimination.
2. Bald men don't suffer discrimination in other areas. I know of no evidence that they have worse earnings or job prospects than hirsute ones.
3. Appearance isn't valued in women politicians. Margaret Thatcher and Angela Merkel (and Golda Meir or Indira Gandhi before them) look like bulldogs sucking a lemon, but this was no obstacle to their success. Conversely, there's no talk of Caroline Flint as a future Labour leader.
So, what's the solution? One possibility is that baldness looks bad on TV; you don't see many bald newsreaders (I don't believe the rumours about Sophie Raworth).
But this runs into the problem that many bald men have succeeded as screen actors: Ben Kingsley, Sean Connery, Vin Diesel, Telly Savalas, Patrick Stewart etc. And what's more, shouldn't the public recognise that TV appearance is not an important part of the job of being PM?
So, here are two other theories.
First, bald men - because of our superior intellect and virility - are seen as threatening; this is why they are often cast as baddies, such as the evil Hood in Thunderbirds. (Perhaps the childhood trauma he caused is itself part of the explanation). But what the public want from politicians is comfort and the illusion of security. Hairy boys, being blander, offer this.
Secondly, the people who report on politics want politics to be a vacuous, glamorous business. They don't want to think their job consists of no more than talk about who can best empty our dustbins. And they certainly don't want to investigate substantive questions of who is genuinely competent to run the country.
And glamour is identified with having hair. In this respect, perhaps its no coincidence that discrimination against bald politicians has emerged at the same time - since the 50s - as rock n' roll. Pop stars are almost never bald, which adds to the identification between glamour and hairyness.