Cugel wrote:Put another way, what do you mean by "personality" in the context of politics and politicians?
It's certainly an imperfect method, there's no denying.
I'm not sure our Parliamentary candidates are media constructs however. Mostly, I know little to nothing about them until they knock at the door. The exception might be the Green candidate or an independent, who I might have seen manning a stall or wandering up and down the high street. So what can I do? I look at their faces, judge their smiles, find out what I can about their record - and the rest is intuition and guesswork.
My angle is this. The world changes very fast, and a manifesto often has a short shelf life. An MP votes on scores of issues that emerge during the course of a parliament and that were absent from the manifesto. Parties change their positions. National emergencies and newspaper headlines demand action. I'd prefer to rely on my imperfect judgement of the candidate's personality than depend on a list of party policies that are vague and/or meaningless, and in any case might be irrelevant after three weeks.
One year I voted for a Monster Raving Loony candidate. It wasn't a protest vote. He was by far the best candidate, and would have been an asset to Parliament. On the one hand, he had a long list of joke policies. On the other, he had been running an engineering company, a tool hire company, and he had a wide range of personal interests. Having met him in the local hardware shop, I decided to vote for him ahead of the bunch of creepy candidates put up by the other parties. We'll never know if I was right. He got about 300 votes. The winning candidate was
EDIT. It has occurred to me that my method is almost never put to the test. As my chosen candidate almost never wins, I can only speculate about how much better they would have been than the person who was elected. Nevertheless, usually I'm safe in saying 'they could hardly have been worse'.