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May 23, 2010


photo ex machina

None of Labour's candidates possess 'gravitas', otherwise they'd have installed him (or her) as leader ages ago.

john Terry's Mum

I think there is a different thing going on.

Politicians (like all men) in the Westernised world are increasingly becoming both boyish AND feminine.

Old-fashioned, manly gravitas is out of favour in our culture and politics. Part of the ridicule Gordon Brown came in for is due to the fact the world no longer values a stereotypically masculine, gruff (grumpy?) manner. Thus qualities such as will, determination and bravery are increasingly useless. After the boyish Major and Blair - Brown was a throwback to the Thatcher era of politician

I would think a present-day Winston Churchill would be portrayed as silly and dinosaur-like (if not totally nuts) -- just as Hitchens was in yesterdays Guardian interview.
(worth a read I think) "I was right and they were wrong".

Tthe curtain being pulled back to reveal how dysfunctional our previous generation of mostly alpha-male leaders were (thatcher included)?

Yes, there are female politicians but I would say (old-skool) Hilary Clinton is much more masculine in her behaviour and essence than (new-skool) feminine Obama.

rinky stingpiece

Diane Abbott has a lot going for her, save for her lack of judgment: if you go back to foolish comments she made about Finnish nurses a while back. She's already fallen into the trap of talking like a Labour replicant on Broadcasting House, instead of actually being herself, which might be more appealling. Comparisons to Obama are delusional.

This behaviour reminds me of the way John Prescott very conspicuously pronounces "government" in a very non-northern way (i.e. "gavanmant"), wedged self-consciously betwixt his normal East Yorkshire lilt.

This "faking it" for the party speaks volumes about the extent of Labour's problems. The party seems pathologically incapable of selecting a leader who breaks the mould of what a politician is supposed to sound like when they talk.
For this reason, I'm about as certain as I could be that the party is due for a longer walk in the wilderness than they realise.
The Lib-Cons do not suffer this, and have outflanked the Labour leviathan.

The only honest voice standing (i.e. one not putting any airs on, but genuinely "speaking human", unlike the Milibands), is clearly John McDonnell.
Labour will probably not even nominate him, never mind select him; and for that reason, I think they may well do worse come next election: assailed on all sides by Lib Dems; Brit Nats, and fragments of the left.

Rob Spear

Fags before prefects?


'Roy Hodgeson for PM' said the banner in Hamburg.

Solomon Hughes

"Journalists, like cowering dogs, are only really comfortable with hierarchy" is an interesting point. I think part of the source of this is that many journalists - meaning here those in the national media - believe themselves to be professionally involved in politics. Many of them believe they are 'bigger fish' than a typical MP. However, there is no democratic element in their career - they get their jobs by climbing up the heirarchy, being promoted by editors, sucking up, nepotism and all the other routes to the top in a heirarchical organisation. So they just don't get, and are a bit turned off by - that part of politicians that still bears the mark of democracy, the need to be elected, the need to respond to their party etc. - this is why press reports of Party Conference's are very often disdainful of the party membership, and also why it is hard to find a sympathetic, unpatronising report of a demonstration ('who are these amateur oiks messing around in politics - I'm a professional' kind of attitude)

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