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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

And now for something completely different

Some may find the following comments to be unserious, in poor taste and reflecting the laddish tendencies of some Samizdata contributors. If you do reach such a conclusion, you will of course be dead right.

The great Tory MP, Spectator editor, game show contestant and budding novelist (does this man have no limitations?) Boris Johnson, has contributed greatly to the gaiety of national life through such jolly japes as hiring sacked BBC journalists like Andrew Gilligan or driving cars on Top Gear.

But surely among his greatest achievements was the identification of what in retrospect was obvious to all but which struck like a thunderclap at the time. In the mid 1990s, when “New Labour” was on the rise, our Boris, then a humble scribe for the Daily Telegraph, created what he called the Tottymeter. The Tottymeter aims to reflect the representation of attractive young women – preferably unnattached – in a political party. Blondes, redheads, brunettes – it does not matter. If your political party has a fair showing of the Fair Sex, then chances are that your party is headed for power rather than for Skid Row. Women, so he argued, are attracted to successful men. (Success rather than looks, given that the average political male is not exactly Sean Connery).

Serious types will sneer, saying I am showing a sexist attitude, suggesting that women do not have a serious reason for joining a party. But I think when looking at success in a field like politics, you can tell a lot from the sort of folk who are joining a party as well as those who are leaving it.

I found Boris Johnson’s thesis convincing. In the mid-1990s when I attended a Labour conference in the course of my job, I was struck by the relatively high number of pretty, and very ambitious young women. (Mind you, when the average young NuLab type opens their mouths, my interest disappears, even if they look like Gwyneth Paltrow).

I think one key contribution of bloggers to modern political reporting should be trying to record this phenomenon and indeed analyse it.

10 comments to And now for something completely different

  • Tony Di Croce

    It’s definatley true in the states too! The women of the left are WAY hotter than the women of the right…


  • Ian Grey

    From the photos of Samizdatistas that have appeared in the blog over the last year or two, a Libertarian Party would score well on the Tottyometer.

  • P.J. O’Rourke made this observation long before Boris did (and it came from a friend of his). I’ll post the reference if I can find it (and if I figure that anyone actually cares).

    Scott Campbell at Blithering Bunny.

  • R C Dean

    I am still kicking myself for not discovering the concentration of hot babes in politics at an earlier age. True fact, though.

    I would disagree, Tony, that hotties congregate on the left. The Demmies have their fair share, but the Repubs have a preponderance, and the nastiest women in politics are your hard left Green/Commie types.

  • Euan Gray

    Maybe attraction of women to your policies is not such a good idea. I recall reading somewhere a postulate that much of our contemporary safety-first nanny culture in fact derives from the influence of women in politics, who, the pundit suggested, are on the average much more risk-averse than men and who, consequently, seem to have a greater desire to regulate life.


  • llamas

    Tony Di Croce wrote:

    ‘It’s definatley true in the states too! The women of the left are WAY hotter than the women of the right… ‘

    Hmm. you must be in a different part of the US than I. I live not a million miles from Ann Arbor, MI, home of the University of Michigan and a hotbed of whacky sandalista activism. In this election season, you can’t move a step in downtown AA without seeing or being subjected to some form of political expression or other.

    Maybe I’m getting old and cranky, but the activist student females of the left, regardless of any fleeting surface pulchritude they may possess, are also invariably possessed of a screeching and obnoxious selfrighteousness, combined with the most vapid and ephemeral grasp of the realities of life. These two combine to more-than-cancel out whatever accidents of genetics may have blessed their appearance.

    The student females of the right – such few as they are – are an entirely different breed of cat, whose blessings of pulchritude are enhanced – to my simple mind, at least – by their generally-well-reasoned demeanour, sense of humour and overall appearance of good sense.

    Were I not of an age with their grandfathers, I know which of the two tribes would produce the more attractive companions. However, of course, were I not of an age with their grandfathers, my criteria for attractiveness would be considerably different than what they are now. That being said, I can well remember the monstrous regiments of left-wing women from my days in college, and I always recall what my friend Denis Roffey would say about them –

    ‘wouldn’t touch them with yours, old man, never mind mine’.

    Beauty fades, but stupidity is forever.



  • Tony Di Croce

    I was definatley NOT speaking about the OVERALL attractivness of the women of the left, just their purely physical attributes… I TOTALLY agree that most would make almost UNBEARABLE mates… (perhaps this explains the 50% divorce rate)… But I stand by my original assertion… On a purely physical measure of attractiveness, they win hands down (for instance, what percentage of professional models would identify more with the right than the left?)

  • Obviously the cute women are all lefties, but I bet they find libo men sexier than lefty men. We are just so, outrageous …

  • I’ve found the PJ ref, for those who care. At a march for housing, he and a journo friend note that

    ‘Practically every female at the march was a bowser. “We’re not being sexist here”, my friend insisted. “It’s not that looks matter per se. it’s just that beautiful women are always on the cutting edge of social trends. Remember how many beautiful women were in the anti-war movement twenty years ago. In the yoga classes fifteen years ago? At the discos ten years ago? On Wall Street five years ago? Where the beautiful women are is where the country is headed”.’

    (Parliament of Whores, Picador paperback, 1991, p. 192).

  • random bloke

    i don’t know about libertarians – but the tories have always had an advantage in recruiting women. i think (apart from 1997 & 2001) more women have voted tory than men