Monday, 24 March 2014

Weird

I guess David Cameron must be taking some comfort from the fact that, in the latest polling, a mere 27 percent of those asked classified him as 'very weird' or 'somewhat weird'. This certainly put him well clear of Ed Milliband - 41 percent - and, occupying the middle ground of political weirdness, Nick Clegg, on 34 percent. The worrying thing about all this is that the polls reflect a sad truth - today's politicians are, for the most part, more or less weird. Perhaps you have to be pretty weird even to want to get into serious politics these days but, more to the point, today's politicians are increasingly only politicians - a  caste apart, with little direct contact with or experience of what most of us would call the 'real world'. The voters feel increasingly alienated from the political elite - hence the rise of UKIP and the like...
 But when did all this start - this perception of politicians as 'weird'? I blame Tony Blair - a weird man himself, if ever there was one - whose idea of political debate was to point at the Tory front bench and cry 'Weird! Weird! Weird!' And of course he had a point... Before that, 'weird' was not a word you ever heard in this context - politicians, whatever their faults and quirks, seemed more or less like us, or at least recognisably human, didn't they? Apart from Ted Heath, of course...

7 comments:

  1. I'm not sure I do think that the political class have become 'removed' from so-called 'real life'. It seems to me that the political class is made-up of the same predatory molesters of boys/girls, cheats, oddballs and criminals, as can be seen any day of the week in (allegedly) the Daily Mail. The mix was probably the same in 'the old days'. The difference now is that new technology has made it almost impossible to brush something under a carpet, and for it to stay there, hidden, for long. Look at Max Clifford (70). He probably imagined that he could cross the Styx with his reputation unblemished, and almost overnight an army of toothless hags have appeared out of the woodwork to call his 'wandering hands' into question. Business ruined, marriage (one imagines) ruined. If you have a secret these days, you had better make sure it is in a lead-lined box at the bottom of the sea. And even then.....

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  2. Well yes, all true - and also rather part of the problem, as only the most preternaturally squeaky-clean can hope to survive that kind of scrutiny. You'd have to a bit weird to have nothing to hide. It's pretty marked in US presidential politics, where the recognisably just about human candidates tend to get blown out of the water by scandal or 'misspeaking', leaving the field to the likes of Mitt Romney...

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  3. Ed Milliband sums up everything that's wrong about the Labour Party; they chose him and not his brother. Weirdness rating 88% surely?

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  4. Quite - Ed's probably relieved his rating's as low as it is.

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  5. Nige, no finer example of your theory exists than that of the mayor of Firenza, who, in their right mind, would give up the dream job as leader of, arguably, Europe's finest G-spot and hurl themselves head-first into the cauldron that is Italian politics, weird.
    Our current leader, north of the border, runs the eponymous Senor a close second. An ex abacus operative at the RBS, when the shred ran the shed, tipster, dreamer, married to a woman who looks like his grandmother and is head of the clan shoulder chip he is, very weird. He, and his understrapper Sturgeon are know locally as Bagpuss and Borgen.

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  6. Fran├žois Hollande does this pretty well? He seems to find it almost effortless, so he must have a talent for it. Some of our home-grown cases are weird-absolutely-horrid which isn't quite the same thing.

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