A time of writing the early results suggest that the May 6th UK general election will produce a slim Conservative victory. Time then to address an issue that has rarely been touched upon in the mainstream election run up: bald men have an unfortunate record in British politics. Indeed, if one thing unites the three candidates for Prime Minister it’s that none appear to have any hair loss. Granted Brown does wears his fringe long which raises the possibility that he is wearing a toupee. If this is the case, I suggest that he remove it.
The last bald Prime Minister of the UK was Jim Callaghan, beaten by Margaret Thatcher in 1979. Since then we’ve John Major (full head of hair), Blair (thinning yes, but not actually bald) and Brown (full head of hair). In elections the bald man consistently loses – Hague and Howard were seen off comprehensively by Blair. Hague in particular was pilloried for his appearance, regularly being compared to a Mekon – the bad guys in Dan Dare, pilot of the future. Iain Duncan Smith was never even allowed to contest an election.
Leaders aside, if the Conservatives do form the next government then William Hague could hope to become Foreign Secretary. An achievement indeed, but considering that 25% of men are balding by the age of 30, bald men are still poorly represented in both the current (probably) outgoing Labour cabinet and Conversative shadow cabinet. The Labour cabinet has 3 (out of 22, 3 women) the Conservatives 4 (out of 32, 7 ladies). Bald men have as poor a representation in the higher echelons of power as women. Quite an achievement.
It’s worse for bald Americans. It was during the 2004 election the Democrat Candidate John Kerry was quoted as saying “We’ve got better vision, better ideas, real plans. We’ve got a better sense of what’s happening to America and we’ve got better hair”. “There goes the bald vote,” Teresa Heinz Kerry told her husband. Kerry lost the election and may still be reflecting on his insensitive comments.
It’s difficult to place the last bald President of the United States. It was actually Gerald Ford, who was never actually elected as either a President or Vice President. He ran for President in 1976 and lost to Jimmy Carter (full head of hair) and only one bald man has run for president since. Carter lost to Reagan (full head of hair) in 1980. Reagan vs Mondale (full head of hair) in 1984. Bush Senior (full head of hair) vs. Dukakis (full head of hair) 1988. The Bush Senior vs Clinton (full head of hair). Then Clinton vs. Dole (full head of hair), Gore vs Bush Jr (full head of hair), Bush Jr vs Kerry (full head of hair), and most recently Obama (full head of hair) vs. McCain. McCain was balding and lost.
It’s Russia, a country otherwise untouched by sense, were that a more enlightened approach prevails when it comes to recognising the virtues of bald men. Very fairly the bald and non-bald take it turn about: Putin (baldish), Yeltsin (hair), Gorbachev (no hair), Chernenko (hair), Andropov (no hair), Brezhnev (hair), Khrushchev (no hair), Stalin (hair), Lenin (no hair).
And does anyone think that, on the BBC coverage, Andrew Neil’s thatch was somewhat unlikely…..
Addendum 7 May 1415hrs. Tories may form a minority government with Lib Dems. I’ve received no reponse from those in politics to the above.