Nick Clegg top British politician in Mumsnet poll

Nick Clegg is the leading British politician on a Mumsnet poll. Sadly, it’s not for voting intention. The Mirror has the story:

Over at Mumsnet, one user started a thread asking “Am I being unreasonable to ask which politician would make the best lover?” There were over 400 replies and we added up the mentions of each name for you. The results are in…

American President Barack Obama beat all local politicians to come out top with 22 votes.

Nick “Clegg-over” Clegg makes a close second, showing he’s kept his sex appeal since 2010 despite the battering his political reputation has taken.

Perennial sex favourite Gordon Brown (he’s Scottish, the accent is kind of sexy) is third.

Well, well. You do have to wonder, though, about the inclusion of Vladimir Putin in such a list. What were they thinking?

I do, though, find this sort of thing a bit icky. If it were women who were being discussed, it would be downright creepy, given that we are generally treated as decorative objects.

Back in 2011, when a site called Sexy MP appeared. I wrote that dehumanising politicians in this way was not harmless:

I know why I am so against this site. A few years ago there was another such site which, unfortunately, allowed people to comment on the various candidates on show. Auch, it’s all a bit of fun, we thought. And then I came across a young woman, a very talented young woman, who could easily make her career in politics, and politics would be better for it, who had been completely freaked out by what had been said about her by lecherous commenters. She literally felt violated and has never since put herself up for public election again. Bear in mind that people often stand or represent where they live, and may feel unsafe if they read graphic comments about what people might want to do to, rather than with, them.

People who stand for election or who are public representatives should expect to be robustly tested on their views, ideals and policies, but having their sex appeal rated by random people for fun is surely not an essential part of the job.

By all means have a bit of a giggle at this site, if that’s your bag, but please remember there’s a more sinister side to all of this.

I suspect Nick himself will be half amused, half mortified by the outcome of the poll. The Mirror ran one too and I feel it’s my duty to tell you that he was neck and neck with Obama at the top of that. Things are definitely looking up – this and the fact that Lucy Beale’s murder is now definitely confirmed as not #nickcleggsfault (although the Daily Mail will probably find some way to pin that one on him.)

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

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  • You’re perhaps understating this a bit, Caron. If women were being “discussed” in this way, lots of feminists would rightly be furious. It demeans any professional person, including a politician, to “discuss” them as a sex object.

    Well, if it’s wrong to treat women that way, which it is – then why should Mumsnet think it’s OK to treat men that way?

  • A poll on mumsnet is not exactly news is it? Typical gutter press from the Mirror.

  • Nick Collins 20th Feb '15 - 1:28pm

    Caron, I was going to ask how you would have reacted if a male-oriented chat-site had rated the sex appeal of women in public life. As you have covered that in the second half of your article, I ask instead: why did you consider this nonsense worthy of comment at all?

  • Tony Dawson 20th Feb '15 - 1:36pm

    Bonkers! 🙂

  • @David – you ask why “it’s OK to treat men that way?”

    The answer is because the vast majority of men really don’t care, and can see a bit of fun for what it is.

    PS MBoy is happy to appear on any Mumsnet hot-list 🙂

  • David Allen 20th Feb '15 - 3:20pm

    The “just a bit of fun” argument is what a lot of nasty people – shock jocks, racists, UKIP, etc – use as a deliberate technique. It helps them to get away with dishonest or vicious attacks by pretending that they are harmless. So let’s not use it!

  • David Evans 20th Feb '15 - 5:56pm

    Why should someone not use a phrase if they believe it is true? Or should we not use any expression used by people some people don’t like? Referendum is one some wnat to run away from despite it having been in our manifesto in the recent past.

  • “You’re perhaps understating this a bit, Caron. If women were being ‘discussed’ in this way, lots of feminists would rightly be furious. It demeans any professional person, including a politician, to ‘discuss’ them as a sex object.”

    Good grief. Try reading the Mumsnet thread. Quite a sizeable proportion of the comments are extremely witty (the opening comment in particular made me laugh out loud), and you sound like you need some help lightening up. You might also be encouraged to see that far from treating Clegg as a “sex object”, many of the women who say they fancy him are at pains to point out that their opinion of him as a politician is the complete opposite.

    Commenters on LDV seemed a lot more easy going about this kind of thing five years ago :-

    But then, those were the days when Lynne Featherstone declared herself “very flattered by the compliment” upon being declared Britain’s most fanciable MP by Sky News, gushing on her blog: “Thank you Sky – you’ve made an old woman very happy!”

    I would suggest that Lynne’s response was correct and proportionate – there’s nothing wrong with fancying people, or being fancied. I can’t believe it’s necessary to say that.

  • Jayne Mansfield 20th Feb '15 - 7:54pm

    I am afraid that this is equality on action, and one has to accept that some women objectify men in the same way that some men objectify women. Personally I find it demeaning to both parties.

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