Wednesday, 14 April 2010

How To Become a Politician

My last post talked about the general election that is looming in Great Britain, a period when all I want to do is avoid the world outside, lest I be bored into a coma by what is going on around me or ranting about the exploits and ideas of our politicians.

For a short time I actually considered what it would like to be a politician – when I say a short time I mean three nanoseconds.

And then I started thinking about the personality traits that would be required to actually become a successful politician. So I did a little research and discovered a very scary fact:

Politicians are psychopaths.

Actually that isn’t absolutely true, but politicians do share some of the personality traits of psychopaths and serial killers.

If you think about it, it really does make a weird kind of sense (and I am very interested in anything weird even if it doesn’t make any sense at all).

Psychopaths have a need to control others and will use various methods to achieve their goals: charm, intimidation, manipulation, threats, lies and violence.

I am not saying for a second that politicians will resort to violence to get what they want, although some have been known to do that. However, they will appear smarmy and their speeches will be full of lies and outrageous claims that are meant to convince the electorate that they are indeed the people to lead and control the populace.

Some people, who are drawn into the world of politics, are enthralled by the thought of power and the need to be in control of people. And they will use any means at their disposal to get what they want, faking emotions in order to convince people that they are sincere and genuine.

So how do you become a politician?

First, try becoming a liar.

Everybody tells lies, even me (mostly in blog posts to be fair). It’s not that difficult. However, what is difficult is hiding the body language that screams “I AM TELLING YOU A PACK OF LIES!”

Here are some things you can try on your own in the comfort of your own bedroom. Strip naked and stand in front of a mirror and watch your reflection as you tell the most outrageous lies to yourself. You can try:

I am the best looking man in the entire world and all women love me.”

Actually, be careful with this one because I’ve tried it and simply couldn’t stop laughing. And Mrs PM caught me too and wondered why I was standing naked in front of a mirror trying to convince myself that I was a babe magnet while howling with raucous laughter. It did give me a chance to try lying to her – but she spotted my “lying voice”.

Apparently when I tell lies, Mrs PM can tell because the tone of my voice changes and my facial expression changes too, thus giving away the fact that I am a total liar. See what I mean about body language? I wear my heart on my sleeve so there is no way I can tell blatant lies or hide the fact that I find something outrageous. If I really wanted to become a politician, I would have to go on a major “How To Lie” course – I simply cannot tell a lie without giving the game away before I have even uttered the words.

Anyway, if, unlike me, you manage to keep a straight face while standing in front of a mirror convincing yourself that you are an Adonis and not a decrepit, podgy old git with a face like melted cheese, then you can try the next step – lying to other people.

Walk up to a complete stranger in the street and say something outrageous like:

“I’ve just heard that Britain is about to become the 51st State; President Obama is coming over for talks with Gordon Brown about the handover of sovereignty. We need to do something about this. Are you with me?”

There are stupid people around so you may be lucky and find somebody who actually believes you. If you do, then build on it, hone the lie and then try it on everybody else.

If you can master the lie then you need to work on becoming a smarmy git. Try a little sycophancy. Walk up to complete strangers and complement them; pay particular attention to ugly people like me (note – do not try me because I am a politician-hating anarchist who trusts nobody and sees deceit and lies in everything).

If you spot an ugly woman, walk up to her and say

“May I just say that your beauty is radiant that it has brightened up this dismal, overcast, rainy day. May I ask your secret? How do you manage to look like a gorgeous English rose on a depressing day like today? You have made my day; it is rare to see such beauty these days”

I have tried this but the combination of my lying voice, lying face, lack of charm and total look of crazy desperation usually betray me and I end up with a swift kick in the groin and a warning not to “try to chat me up” in future.

A word of warning: you may suffer this fate – but I am sure that if you are charming and do not look like the back end of a baboon you will have more success than me.

Next, you have to try kissing babies. Be aware that you might get beaten senseless by an irate mother. With that in mind I would try holding and kissing a baby that you know. I recently watched David Cameron clutching a baby in a hospital while on the campaign trail and he was a master.

The next trick is to come up with a catchphrase or slogan for yourself. For example:

“The lady’s not for turning.” – Margaret Thatcher

“Yes we can.” – Barak Obama

“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, sweat and tears” – Winston Churchill.

“Read my lips: no new taxes” – George Bush Sr

One of the key things you have to do is pledge allegiance to a political party – at least publicly – and then use every opportunity to shout down the ideas, principles and manifesto pledges of all of your opponents – even if you agree with them. I suppose this is another form of lying, so mastering the art of fibbing is a natural prerequisite.

Next, try making a few outrageous claims, like Gordon Brown did when he foolishly said “I saved the world” in the Houses of Parliament. I would suggest that such a statement would possibly be a little TOO outrageous; perhaps opt for something that all politicians love to do – quote figures. I cannot believe for a second that politicians can keep a database full of numbers and percentages in their brains. I am therefore of the opinion that they all simply make it all up, that is, it is another fabulous form of lying.

Insults are another good way to get the better of your political nemeses, the funnier the better - for example:

[Being attacked by Geoffrey Howe is like] “being savaged by a dead sheep” – Dennis Healey.

“If Gladstone fell into the Thames, that would be a misfortune. If anybody pulled him out, that, I suppose would be a calamity.” – Benjamin Disraeli about William Gladstone.

[Clement Attlee is] “a sheep in sheep’s clothing” – Winston Churchill.

“Attila the Hen” – Clement Freud describing Margaret Thatcher.

“He has not a single redeeming defect” Benjamin Disraeli on William Gladstone.

“She probably thinks Sinai is the plural of sinus” Jonathan Aitken on Margaret Thatcher.

Another key skill of a politician is the ability to not answer a question. If you watch political interviews, you will see this happen all of the time. When asked a question, most politicians will simply answer another question or, in most cases, ignore the question completely and then use the opportunity to tell a fabulous lie about themselves or their policies or simply insult and put down their political opponents. To me this particular skill is mandatory.

You can practice this. When asked the simple question “How much did you spend?” simply answer another question and throw in a few meaningless and false facts and figures. For example:

“How much did you spend?”

“Going to the shops is a privilege that I, for one, will never relinquish and never ever take away from the normal man in the street. Did you know, for example, that 53% of men are so concerned about the prospect of not being allowed to venture into the city to enjoy this fabulous pastime without having to justify themselves. Our opponents want to remove this right by demanding that 35% of men stay outside the shop. If that is allowed to happen then 23,453 men will stay at home and watch TV, become fat and end up putting a burden on our health service. That’s what our opponents fail to see.”

“With all due respect you are not answering the question. How much did you spend?”

“I am answering the question and, if you will allow me to finish, you see that my explanation answers your question perfectly. You see, shopping is our right and my party wants all men to able to go down to the shops whenever they like and not be concerned about bureaucracy and red tape making their life difficult. Life is hard enough as it is and the hard working man must be able to exercise his freedom. Britain needs freedom and it is the interminable right of every British man to go to the shops. I will not allow it to change; it will be an insult to the ordinary working British man who makes this wonderful country what it is today. It is my right, it is your right and, by God, I will make sure that this right remains.”

“Answer the bloody question – HOW MUCH DID YOU SPEND??????”

And on it will go. Of course, if you read carefully, you can see two new abilities that you need to become a politician.

First, the ability to bullshit; i.e. talk utter nonsense while pretending to make perfect sense. Politicians are masters at this.

Second, you need to be patriotic. Mention Britain a lot (or whatever country you live in) and make believe that your political opponents want to take away your rights as a citizen of your country. American politicians are particularly good at this.

The final and possibly most important trait of a politician is egotism; you must absolutely love yourself, believe in yourself and believe that everybody on the entire planet should love you. You must be totally self-centred and not worry about offending anybody who disagrees with your self-love. The only problem is that you must somehow disguise this egotism with a cloud of deceit, which means that you must lower yourself to mix with the lower classes, smile at them, touch then, hug them, even possibly kiss them. You must befriend these people and make them believe that you are some kind of saviour and that, without you, the world will end.

Sadly, for me at least, no politician has ever come close to achieving this last requirement and most if not all of them reveal their inner selves as sure as those lizards did in the science fiction series “V”.

I am not saying that politicians are lizards (although somebody like David Icke might disagree with me); I am simply saying that I do not trust them – any of them.

And it is this untrustworthiness that makes it impossible for me ever to become a politician. I cannot lie without giving the game away; I wear my heart on my sleeve; I have the charisma of a slug; people mistake me for Mr Hyde; I am totally unable to bullshit

I also like people and can answer questions.

That is probably why I will never be British Prime Minister.


Kath Lockett said...

Be very proud - and relieved - that being a politician is NOT what comes naturally to you!

Plastic Mancunian said...

G'Day Kath,

I am proud of that fact - and definitely relieved. It is particularly dreadful at the moment watching them all over my telly box. Even if I had wanted to be a politician, the last week or so would have totally changed my mind.




An Eerie Tapestry said...

And there was me thinking that psychopaths were guys who talked to themselves in the mirror and then burst out laughing.

Then again, you seem to have summed up politicians fairly accurately. What a waste that with your grasp of politics and your skills in verbosity you'll probably never get to be Prime Minister, which also means, I guess, that Mrs PM will never get to be Mrs PM.

River said...

1: Become a liar.

2: Spot an ugly woman, but DON'T say what you suggested, she'll probably hit you with her handbag. Instead compliment her on something totally believable, like the shine on her hair, the fabric of her dress, the style of her glasses. In no time you'll have a chatty new friend who will sing your praises to all her friends and will probably even vote for you.
3: Forget about kissing babies, they'll chuck-up on you.
4: Make outrageous claims?
I do this daily, you should just hear me going on at the checkout....
5: How much did you spend?
"All of it"- while secretly stashing away the leftover cash....
6: The trick is to say it (anything) convincingly and often enough and give examples to back up your claims. The examples can be total fabrications of your imagination, just say (convincingly, of course), I read it somewhere.....this works amazingly well.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Mark,

No - it is only sad gits who talk to themselves in a mirror.

Nice thought - PM being PM and Mrs PM being Mrs PM.

Would that make you ET by any chance?




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

Thanks for those insight - particularly the "ugly woman" one - I'll try it on one of Mrs PM's friends - or maybe not.

I've been there with babies (see this post:

I might try outrageous claims but I have known a guy who did this and was ridiculed mercilessly. Strangely he saw this as a green light to make even more outrageous claims ...




Anonymous said...

My mom run for office in the local elections ----city district , in the Philippines. We were campaigning for her of course, but we are also grateful she did not win. Her nature is not for politics and we know it's not God's plan for her because then she thought she could earn a little more money by being a public servant, but in he end, the blessings of not being a politician came in a hundredfold.

That is why I'm never interested in politics--it's too filthy.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Bingkee,

There are people out there, like your Mum, who want to go into politics for all the right reasons. The problem is that the kind of person I talk about in my post make life really tough and difficult for these sincere and genuine people. It's sad but its true.

She's well out of it - and happier for it I would imagine.




Nomad said...

This reminds me of a famous short story by Raymond Carver called, "Why, Honey?" If you get a chance to read it, I am sure you'd appreciate the connection.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Nomad,

I will look that up. Thanks.