Monday, May 27, 2024
HomeDemocracy in DecayShock tactics: Judge politicians by their hair

Shock tactics: Judge politicians by their hair


ANNA Wintour appeared on BBC’s Any Questions during the Monica Lewinsky affair. I youthfully cared about politics and thought the invitation to the editor of a fashion magazine undermined the whole show. How wrong I was. The Vogue editor shared a political pearl of wisdom I have never forgotten. Asked what she thought of the woman with whom Bill Clinton did not have sex, Wintour replied  that Monica had ‘bad hair’, and people with bad hair were not to be trusted.

It is a dictum I have stuck by; it has never let me down.

Wintour’s political advice also makes for a fun parlour game. Good hair? Bad hair? How does their ‘do’ correspond to character?

Let’s play it now.

Paula Vennells, late of the Post Office? Bad hair.

Rachel Reeves? Bad hair. She once had pretty hair but has recently had a fringe carved across her forehead. She now has ugly Lego hair.

Nicola Sturgeon? See above.

You get the picture: unappealing. I take the inclination to have savage ugly haircuts as a sign of trying to mute an instinctive kindness and turn it into something harsh for . . . what? Votes, credibility?

Does the same apply to men? Yes, because: Boris. Of course bad hair means bad character, duh. He was a mess.

William Wragg: long hair over a bald pate. Revolting.

I’m convinced that David Miliband lost the 2010 Labour leadership election because of his hair. Remember it? A clod of black, cut aggressively short.

Now we’ve established that bad hair matters and is an indicator of character, let’s apply the principle to our current clipping of politicians.

Who are we voting for in this dismal election? Rishi Sunak? Sir Keir Starmer? Richard Tice? Sir Ed Davey? A non-conservative Conservative Prime Minister, a Corbynite, someone we’d prefer to be Farage and a gentleman who thinks ladies have penises. Not a lot to go on. So let’s look at their hair.

Sunak: A salt and pepper quiff that is not too quiffy. Could be worse.

Sir Keir: Bad hair: a too solid quiff and a parting at a strange 1970s end-of-eyebrow level.

Tice: No obvious use of hair products.

Sir Ed: Balding but not brave enough to shave off the wisps.

What does this all mean? Let’s consider the words of Plato in his Republic: ‘But in democracies when the people are the judges, and all sorts of men are ambitious of distinction, candidates flatter the people in order to get them into power; and when they are in power, they, not infrequently, carry on the government according to their own ideas of justice . . .’

All of them will lie to get our vote, so we can discount entirely what they say. Let us judge them instead on who has loving people around them honest and caring enough to say, ‘No, darling, that is a bad haircut, let’s sort it out.’

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Joanna Gray
Joanna Gray
Joanna Gray has devised The Confidence Course, a six week course for teenagers,

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