Personalities in Politics and the Pint Test
It is sometimes said there are no characters - no large personalities - in politics. But there are a few: Boris Johnson, Ken Livingstone, Alex Salmond. And even Nigel Farage seems affable on a personal level. Interesting that with the exception of Boris they are all outside the established parties. Within the main parties it is more or less a personality-free zone. Marina Hyde in The Guardian on Saturday discussed the "pint test". Who would you go for a pint with? Boris, certainly. Ken also. Alex Salmond, yes I think so. Even Farage. But Clegg, Cameron, Miliband? Dear God. Like Marina Hyde "... I would cross continents to avoid taking even a fluid ounce". It wasn't always like that. Politicians of the past (and recent past) who pass the pint test are John Prescott, Denis Healey (not Tony Benn who, apart from not drinking, has always been a bit too unctuous for my liking). Not Roy Jenkins (too pompous and self-important) or David Owen (ditto). As for Tories that is tougher. Ken Clarke, perhaps. What about PMs who pass the pint test? Can't think of any since 1945 except perhaps MacMillan (not a pint man, I should think) and Wilson. Definitely not Heath. And absolutely not, in any circumstances, Thatcher. I'd rather have my fingernails extracted (her friend Pinochet could have arranged that).