Beautiful Politicians?

January 31, 2007

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An article in the Economist this week, which can’t have been that good as I can not remember much about it, spent some time discussing politicians and whether being beautiful counted towards electoral success.

At an EU level, we certainly have our fair share of old, greyhaired men; some of whom could never claim to have got where they are on the basis of looks. Many of whom are unfortunately farmed out to Brussels as no-one is quite sure what to do with them back home and it is mistakenly assumed they can do no damage in Brussels. (Admittedly some are experienced national politicians who make a conscious decision to come to Brussels and therefore make a great difference to the quality of both politics and policy here, thankfully I used to work for one of them)

As Members of the European Parliament are elected on a PR party list system by an electorate that has no clue who they are, what they do or indeed what they look like, beauty could hardly said to be a contributing factor to their electoral success.

However, it seems that the odds of finding a young and attractive politician in the European Parliament are about 785 to 1, at least since the accession to the European Union of Bulgaria and Romania on 1st January 2007. One wonders how many requests for meetings from lobbyists the new Romanian Socialist Member Daciana Sarbu will be receiving now that she has full voting rights?

P.S. if anyone can recall the main point of the Economist article I’d be very much obliged.