August 29, 2015

Liberals Narrow the Gap

Canadians have offered up the most interesting three-way I’ve seen this year. It’s election season (note the ‘l’), after all.

As the polls seem to show a straight shoot-out between the incumbent Tories, the rising New Democrats, and the resurgent Liberals, Canadian voters are making up their minds not only on a fair judgement of policy and plausibility. Voting-booth decisions are bound up with perceptions of the character, charisma and credibility of each of the party leaders. People want a Prime Minister they can trust. This boils down to the conviction with which leaders speak, and through things less tangible than words.

No Stephen, it's bigger than that

It’s no different when you set out to buy a car. Honest John only has a few minutes to persuade you that the lemon you’re about to buy has had only one careful owner, aged over 60, and the milometer reading really is genuine. In these circumstances, no consumer likes a cheap suit. Nothing screams ‘run away’ so loudly as a polyester two-piece. Luckily for us, car dealers seem not to know this.

Alarming, isn't it Tom?

It’s no different with politicians. As you can see in the montages of the three party leaders I’ve presented here, neither the current Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, nor his most likely replacement, Thomas Mulcair, has any clue that the gap between shirt collar and suit jacket is classically symbolic of a man who doesn’t fit. When the finger goes down the back of a suit collar, the finger goes up to the Suit’s candidacy.

In this respect at least, the Liberal leader, Justin Trudeau, seems to have narrowed the gap. He looks tailor made for the part.

Of course, politicians are cynics. Some might tell you that Harper and Mulcair’s loose looks are deliberate ploys to make them appear men of the people. Maybe so. But what would that say of their view of ‘the people’? In a tight race, where two out of three are going to get it in the neck, I’m looking to the collar.

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