Arts > Personality Politics

22 May 2014 | by D.J. Taylor

Personality Politics


BBC Radio 4SHORTLY AFTER the 1992 general election, the BBC broadcast one of the earliest attempts to investigate what might be called the neurological basis of politics. Here, a roomful of voters were provided with electronic devices which allowed them to register their instinctive reactions to the various politicians shown talking and gesticu­lating on the screen before them from one second to the next. The results were painfully instructive: in fact, no sooner did Neil Kinnock open his mouth than the approval graph began to plummet. Worryingly enough for the Labour voter, the cause of this collective scepticism seemed to go beyond politics. The pundits, it appeared, were much more likely to dislike the Labour leader because he spoke with a Welsh accent or had red hair than because


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