Sunday, 16 April 2017

The physiognomy of politicians #2

What can we ascertain about Theresa May's personality from her appearance? Well, like Gordon Brown, she is inscrutable. And that makes her an interesting physiognomic case study.

May is an introvert. We can tell that when we look at her. She often has a piercing look on her eyes, as she purses her lips. She seems to be a natural brooder. She does not seem to like you, or anyone else for that matter. She appears to be judging you from a distance. You are afraid that she might take your human rights away from you. You are afraid that she might look at your internet history, come to the conclusion that you are a dirty perv and launch an inquiry about it.

May is determined, cold and calculating. That is why she was the only Tory who emerged triumphant after Brexit. She 'just gets the job done.' Indeed, she lasted six full years as Home Secretary, while others wither away in that department. Now she has been entrusted with leading Britain over the cliff. We are most likely set for a Hard Brexit. As we leave the single market, as the pound weakens and as inflation soars, she shoots off to different parts of the world pleading for a trade deal. It doesn't matter if it's a pernicious, demagogic misogynist like Trump. It doesn't matter if it's a prolific violator of human rights like Erdogan. The people voted for this outcome and she wants to secure what's in the best interest for the country.

For all her coldness and determination, like Brown she also has asperities. She struggles to think on her feet. With her in the helm, you get the impression that Brexit negotiations would drag on for all perpetuity. The Conservative party has struggled to formulate tangible policies under her helm. We can tell that when we look at her. Even Corbyn can make her look fidgety. She often seems evasive. She can be prone to the occasional platitude, the most egregious one being 'we want a red, white and blue Brexit.' (What on Earth does that mean?) She often feels insecure in large crowds.

Yet, like Brown, she also cares about justice. This comes through mostly in her rhetoric, not in her voting record or her policies. Like Brown, her father was also a minister. She is a communitarian. Unlike Thatcher, she does believe that there is such a thing as society. She wants to help out those who are just about managing.

We can also tell from her physiognomy that she is stubborn and inflexible. When dealing with the opposition, she often scowls. She often juts her lips and grimaces. As such, she is also something of an ideologue. She wants to bring back grammar schools when the public has opposed them. Studies demonstrate that they are a barrier to social mobility. Her ideological leanings also make her pander to populism. She wants to control immigration figures, even if it irreparably harms the economy. She wants social cohesion at all costs. She panders to some nasty xenophobic sentiments.

She certainly is inscrutable. Yet, from this study, we have managed to deduce something about her personality. As Kenneth Clark said, she is a bloody difficult woman.

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