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Political Times

Posted by Ian Rowland on

Political Times

Here in the UK, where I live, we are in the middle of a General Election.

I have a fundamental problem with politicians: they seem proud of being only able to see one view or one perspective on a given issue. I would have thought any thoughtful, intelligent person seeks to escape that kind of blinkered view, and to see that most things in life are a little more complicated -- and a little more rich and fascinating -- than just 'This is the right view, that's the wrong view'. How anyone can be proud of having such simplistic black and white views has always puzzled me.

There are many links between cold reading and politics. A fundamental aspect of cold reading is the fact that the reader provides the statement but the client provides the meaning. It's often the same in politics -- the candidate makes his or her speech, peppered with claims and appealing soundbites, and hopes that the voter will find something that resonates, something that suggests, 'Yes, I'll vote for you'.

There's another parallel to do with answering questions. In my Applied Cold Reading system, there is a module on 'Answering Questions'. This provides you with a way of answering more or less any question, whether or not you actually know much about the subject. It often seems to be the case that some politicians attempt the same strategy -- with very variable results!

To finish this blog entry, I'll just mention my favourite political moment of recent times. In the 2010 General Election, the spectacularly inept Gordon Brown met Gillian Duffy, a 65 year-old former council worker. She asked Mr. Brown a few questions and then went on her way. Mr. Brown got into his car and somewhat peevishly denounced Mrs. Duffy as a 'bigot'. Unfortunately, he was still wearing a Sky News microphone, which captured the comment with delicious clarity.

Mr Brown then went to do a radio interview with Jeremy Vine, utterly unaware that this recording of his comments existed. During the interview, live on air, Jeremy gleefully played the tape. American broadcaster and humourist Jon Stewart said, 'If you watch the video, you can actually see the moment when Gordon Brown's political career left his body'. It's just wonderful, and you can see it here: Gordon Brown on Jeremy Vine show