It is now a matter of history that Ed Milliband failed to engage with the UK electorate, and has now resigned as Leader of the Labour Party, having overseen a very poor result for his party.
But we did think you might like to ponder this image, too. We saw it served to us on the Internet countless times.
Yes, yes – all well and good, and fair game, all’s fair in love and war etc – but we do wonder how ridicule like this seriously affects a politician’s chances, especially as our politics has become increasingly Presidential throughout the Western world.
After all, it’s legend that Nixon lost the crucial TV debate with Kennedy because he refused make up and so had a noticeable five o’clock shadow making him look older and unkempt. That hirsute shadow dogged him in virtually every cartoon of him from then till his death.
This pic would have been seen by a untold millions of Brits before last Thursday. It hardly enhances the poor chap’s dignity.
He can’t help how he looks, after all.
And we see these types of memes constantly – the world even had to invest the word meme to describe them – and after a while we are sure they have some sort of effect, and nearly always always negative. The fact that Wallace is a bit of a numpty working-class Northerner won’t have been missed by a few million sub-consciousnesses, either.
Hmmm. One of the commonest lines we deliver on this blog is “you can survive anything in politics except ridicule”. We are sure more serious matters were at play, too, but this can’t have helped.
And yes, we would be the last people to argue that humour and satire have no place in politics. They serve a valuable purpose and have done for centuries. Nevertheless, we also owe it to those who would govern us to look at issues more than their double chin (Jim Callaghan), the size of their hips or nose (Julia Gillard), their sticky-outy ears (Tony Abbott), their voice (Margaret Thatcher) and so on and so on endlessly.
Caricature is fun, but not if it overwhelms everything else. We dumb our politics down too far at our peril.