Voices: The Top 10 attempts by politicians to seem cooler than they are

·3-min read
Voices: The Top 10 attempts by politicians to seem cooler than they are

Rishi Sunak claimed to enjoy breakfast wraps at McDonald’s with his daughters, two and a half years after they had been discontinued. Thanks to Harriet Williamson for suggesting this list.

1. Enoch Powell, when he was health minister in 1962, was photographed on a pogo stick, in a suit, coat and hat, and with a look of intense concentration on his face. Nominated by Sunder Katwala and David Stainer.

2. Lord Hailsham visited Tyneside in 1962, wearing a cloth cap. (He only ever wore a bowler hat.) There is a song about it: “A little cloth cap, a little cloth cap; get your picture in the paper in a little cloth cap.” Thanks to Andy McSmith.

3. Alec Douglas-Home was given a Beatles line for a speech during the 1964 election campaign. “And you know that can’t be bad!” It came out as: “And you know… um… that really can’t be too bad.” According to Lawrence Freedman, it “passed the audience by”. I am prepared to lift the ban on the Beatles for that one. (Harold Wilson had presented the band with awards seven months before the election – an occasion nominated by Sam Evans; and re-opened the Cavern Club in Liverpool in 1966 in order to try to continue the identification – thanks to Sam Freedman.)

4. Edward Heath on a skateboard, circa 1970. (James Callaghan did it too in 1977.) Thanks to chamberlagop.

5. David Steel, the Liberal Party leader, featured on a record called “I Feel Liberal – Alright!”, by Jesse Rae, 1982. Thanks to David Boothroyd.

6. Margaret Thatcher quoted the dead parrot sketch from Monty Python in her speech to Conservative party conference, 1990, referring to the Liberal Democrats. She asked her speech writers if they were sure that the representatives would find it funny. They did. Thanks to John Peters.

7. William Hague on a water slide, wearing a baseball cap, soon after his election as Conservative leader in 1997. Lee Rotherham thinks it may have been his fault as he was wearing his outside parliament, and was spotted by Alan Duncan, Hague’s adviser. Also nominated by Ian McKenzie, Brian Williams, Michael Davies, Jack Mendel, Stockfttp, Scope Davies and Kevin T. Meanwhile, Arj Singh nominated Hague’s claim to have drunk 14 pints of beer a day when he was a pub delivery worker.

8. Iain Duncan Smith rapped the lyrics of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” live on TV, in 2017. Thanks to Adam Behr.

9. Matt Hancock, as culture secretary, doing parkour (jumping across dangerous gaps), 2018. Nominated by Sam Wilson.

10. Theresa May saying, “Simples!” She told Ian Blackford, the Scottish National Party leader in the Commons that he should vote for a Brexit deal in 2019, quoting the meerkat advert and winning a bet for Seema Kennedy, her parliamentary private secretary.

Next week: Jesters, as Boris Johnson prepares to leave the stage.

Coming soon: Most powerful people ever, after Janan Ganesh wrote in the Financial Times that President Truman in mid-1945 was “the most powerful human being who has ever lived”, because of the US’s nuclear monopoly and vast share of world economic output.

Your suggestions please, and ideas for future Top 10s, to me on Twitter, or by email to top10@independent.co.uk