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January 18, 2012



"insofar as Nick Clegg is good-looking, he corroborates this theory."

No he doesn't. Clegg's party didn't get, proportionately or absolutely, more votes under his leadership than it did under Charles Kennedy. The Lib Dem seat count actually fell in 2010.

What he did get was a surge in the polls after his appearance in the TV debates; this could suggest that the kind of people who a) tell pollsters they'll vote one way then don't follow through and b) make their minds up based on TV debates are the same kind of people who favour 'good-looking' candidates, but the evidence of 2010 is that they don't vote in sufficient numbers to swing the election.


The issue is not pretty VS ugly. It goes deeper than that.

Todorov's work (which you allude to to I think) "focuses on face recognition. Specifically, he studies the biological roots of rapid judgements by understanding how human beings determine if a stranger is friend or foe. In one experiment, Todorov showed pictures of men’s faces and asked participants to rate them on several attributes such as likability and competence. He found that participants mostly agreed with each other over how likable or competent the men in the photos looked. But there was a twist to his study. The faces were actually campaign portraits of politicians competing for elective office. And when Todorov compared the competence ratings as judged by the Princeton students to the results of the elections he found that, “in about 70 percent of the races for senator, congressman, and governor, the election winner was the candidate whose face had earned a higher rating of competence.”

David Miliband 'appears' competent, so is electable.
Ed Miliband is a faintly ludicrous specimen. He resembles a flapping fish on the deck of a trawler in the moments before expiration. Plus his voice ...

Frank H Little

One wonders how David Davis, arguably better-looking than Cameron, would have done if he had won the Conservative election race, as looked likely at one time.


I wouldn't say he is particularly ugly.

But he his looks make him appear confused, like he was trying to solve a puzzle and the wind changed.


Chris you should not run your self down; I see nothing attractive about either milliband brother, and women at Oxford must have very poor judgement to think otherwise. They must have let the wrong sort of women in, desperate maybe after being locked up in a private all girl boarding school. I wonder if there is some other connection here? Is physical beauty in men linked to class and wealth, so rich American boys become politicians and they look attractive as a result of biological fitness. Lots of steak and athletic exercise in private schools and ivy league universities equates to good breeding stock? Aristotle made the famous claim that the rich look beautiful unlike slaves who toil in sun and rain and who are malnourished. You can tell by sight The Philosopher says who is free citizen and who is slave. The mark of the citizen is health; vigour, good skin, strong body, straight and gracious; the slave bent and broken, weak and with spoilt complexion. So no progress since C500 BC. I suspect Aristotle and Plato would not rate the millibands: when you can ogle Alcabiades the competition is severe. Now if Rafael Nadal or Feliciano Lopez stood for election... one would have difficulty concentrating on the manifesto.

Account Deleted

An evolutionary biologist would probably note that ugliness, in the broader sense of physical imperfection or visible evidence of illness, is seen as a warning sign when it comes to picking a mate.

This evolved into a cultural norm (much advanced by religion) that external appearance reflects internal corruption, an idea that was amusingly inverted by Oscar Wilde in Dorian Gray.

We're only just getting over this prejudice. Zombie films are putting up a stiff resistance.


I am spanish, so, please, take no offense, but it is hard for me to remember any handsome british PM.

Tom Addison


Two words: Carles Puyol.

High horse. Off.


What electoral success has Gove ever had? He got elected as a Tory in Surrey Heath, which an inflated bladder on a stick could have done, had it been wearing a blue rosette. His only success was getting selected for Surrey Heath by the local Tory Association, and that's a pretty weird electorate.



Why should the spanish get a free pass on offending?

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