Cool politicians poll showcases the paucity of political debate

I thought we’d scraped the bottom of the barrel when these photos of poor Ed Miliband eating a bacon sandwich led to him being mocked in virtually every publication in the UK. But it gets worse. The other day I sighed when I saw the headline “Ed Miliband is less cool than Sir Menzies Campbell”. Apparently YouGov has been spending time and money asking people how cool a group of current and former party leaders are.

Unsurprisingly, nobody makes it out of the negatives:

You Gov Cool poll


It’s certainly true than any vestiges of coolness are generally removed from political candidates by party machines before they are allowed to face the electorate, particularly at parliamentary level, which is a bit of a shame. The minute anybody shows the slightest bit of individuality and style they are vilified by the press. I thought Charles Kennedy doing the rounds of the chat shows and quizzes like Have I Got News for You was great and played to his strengths, yet the press got all sniffy about it and used it as a stick to beat him with. His enduring popularity in and out of the party suggests that it was not a bad thing for him to have done.

Of course you’ll note that the leader who would have knocked everybody out of the park in terms of coolness has not been included in this list. Paddy Ashdown would surely have got into at least positive figures.

I suspect if YouGov had asked “Does being cool really matter?” then I suspect the answer would have been a resounding “no.”  I suspect we want our politicians to be solving the problems of our age. I do hope that none of their teams are poring over this result and wondering what they can do with their man to get people to think they are cool.




* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • It’s been all downhill since Gladstone -now he was ‘cool’ !

  • Caron

    Yougov Founders
    – Nadhim Zahawi MP – Tory MP who sits on the “Number 10 policy unit”
    – Stephen Shakespeare – ex-owner of Conservativehome and author of “independent” report which endorsed the Tory policy of selling off our personal data. He also stood for the Tories but failed to get the seat in Colchester
    – Peter Kellner – President of Yougov and husband of Catherine Ashton and prominent pollster – also author of articles such as “the fundamentals favour Cameron” (to win the General election)

    This poll has no political significance beyond being good product placement for Yougov and another tool for the Tory Old Boy’s network to throw childish mud at Ed Milliband. I wish them all the best in their endeavours but I wouldn’t wish to join them.

  • I dont beleive any Non-Political Polls about Politicians show anything but core Party support – Tories 27%, Libdems 14% & Labour 13%. That sounds about right to me.

  • @sfk I’m not sure of the point about Yougov’s founders. Two of the founders are Tories and one is a member of the Labour Party and married to a member of the Labour Party (Peter Kellner said he was a number at a public talk about the history of Britain’s Left two and a half years ago).

  • “and another tool for the Tory Old Boy’s network to throw childish mud at Ed Milliband.”

    Now if they’d asked about “funny-looking”, no doubt LDV would have been all in favour – judging by their favourite stock photos of Ed Miliband, anyway.

  • “Peter Kellner said he was a number at a public talk about the history of Britain’s Left two and a half years ago”

    Did he say which number? Was it number six by any chance?

  • SIMON BANKS 16th Jul '14 - 8:28pm

    It looks to me as if at least 10% of the respondents have answered according to whether they liked the politician or not, rather than considering their coolness. We wouldn’t do that, would we?

    I suspect Tony Blair is hurt to find he’s considered uncool.

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