Thursday, 6 May 2010

Personality does matter!

Am I the only person who is openly admitting that personality has a big bearing on who is going to get my vote today? I’m not a complete idiot advocating a Martini ‘vote for the pretty people’ style approach to politics. Of course it’s also about substance. But can we all just take a minute to be honest and admit that as human beings our perception on a particular person is going to impact on whether we buy into what they’re saying. Personally I’m getting to the end of my tether with people explaining to me in patronising tones that it doesn’t matter whether I’d like to invite Mr. Brown or Mr. Cameron round to tea; it’s about how they’d get on with the business of running the country. Really? Thanks for pointing that out to me. Are you sure we simple, empty-headed women should really be allowed to have a vote anyway?

What I wish people like this would understand is that now the ideological gap between the major parties is narrower, then there needs to be another way of comparing them. Surely how a person comes across should be and is indicative of how they approach other things in life such as their job.

So let’s take a look at those demeanours. On the one hand there’s Gordon Brown who quite frankly gives me the creeps, especially when he smiles. I am still having regular nightmares over the ‘penitent sinner’ grimace. Then there’s David Cameron who is not only totally devoid of an upper lip but always seems to be endlessly shiny. You’d think what with all the money being poured into a general election campaign, someone could at least pull him to one side and dab a powder puff on his nose once in a while. This is Britain after all, not some tropical climate, so it’s not as if he’s out there shaking hands in the blistering midday heat. His constant glowing always makes me think of politicians as oily, slippery creatures and then it’s rather hard to trust them - or more to the point him - completely.

Then we come to the fresh-faced Nick Clegg. No wonder he’s doing so well; for starters, he doesn’t have any apparent facial problems. After watching the televised debates, I’ve taken to him. Is it because I agree with his policies? Well according to, not in the most part. However, I do find him agreeable. And before you ask, yes I probably would invite him for dinner. Having that likeable quality, a type of charisma, is key to being a successful leader. If it really wasn’t about personality at all then surely they’d be called representatives or spokespeople. But they’re not: they’re leaders. Someone, who by definition, will encourage others to follow them.

What’s wrong with wanting the people that represent you to be nice chaps and good sorts? People who embody what you believe in. Take my local MP, who has held his incredibly safe seat since 1992 and until recently most probably lived under the impression that it would take an act of god for him to lose it. That was until the expense claim debacle. Abroad at the time it happened, I recently have learnt that said MP who lives in zone 6 (like me) claimed disgusting amounts in second home allowances. Suddenly I don’t care about his policies or which party he represents. All I can think of is the many mornings I squeezed onto an unpleasantly packed train to commute into Central London to be paid a lot less than an MP, or the fact it takes about seven minutes to walk from London Victoria station to Westminster. Something clearly beyond his capabilities; as a result I have no intention of helping him to stay on.

Call me cynical but I do have trouble believing that all the promises currently being made can be kept and that the voter-friendly manifestos now being pushed won’t be changed, scaled down or scrapped once the new government (whoever that may be) gets its feet, weary from campaigning, back under the table. In which case, then what have you voted for? Hopefully someone, when all is said and done, who is a decent individual who will try their utmost to do what’s best for the nation, not their own pockets. With all the extended television coverage we’re getting of the candidates it’s almost like we know them. It’s enough to follow our natural gut instincts as to whether they’re someone we want bestow with the great honour of our vote.

However, whatever you decide, may I recommend the heady pleasure of telling every bumptious pain in the posterior who condescended to you about your political ignorance that you voted for the Monster Raving Loony Party - and only because someone you vaguely know lived next door to their Minister of Fun while at university. Read more by Rosie.