The Corner

Grumpy Old Men, Please

If there’s one thing worse than their ceaseless muttering about the children, its politicians’ relentless bonhomie. Adam Nicholson is not impressed:

“Maybe we have reached the dead-end of this particular line. Wouldn’t we all prefer the bad acting, the faux-bonhomie and the fauxempathetic quivering voice at bad news to be dropped? And wouldn’t we all rather a return to the old style in which the politician did not have to display his real, feely, touchy, life-loving, people-hugging, Martini-ad-grinning credentials at every turn? I would. There is something infantile about wanting a political leader to be nice. Niceness is irrelevant to political effectiveness. Niceness is a private virtue and private virtues are distinct from public ones. Anyway, on the Stalin model, displayed niceness is scarcely any measure of a man. What is required in a public man is sanity, sureness, an enormous capacity to understand complexity and an overwhelming grasp of the real. He doesn’t need to be nice. ”

Indeed not.

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