Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Up the poll, again

Malcolm's trusty taxi-load of followers will have noticed the similarity between:
  • his posting of 13th May, noting the curious way the Sunday Times inverted the findings of its YouGov poll (as in the expression, famously, "What, Guv, do want the poll to "prove"?)
  • today's Times, showing its Populus poll putting Labour up 4%:
Labour support is up by four points since mid-April to 33 per cent, while the Conservatives are unchanged on 37 per cent, despite their big gains in the local elections on May 3. The Liberal Democrats have dropped by three points to 17 per cent, with others down one point at 13 per cent.
Of course, knowing the Times, there has to be a worm in the apple, grit in the sandwich, a bluebottle in the Barolo. And here it is:

Gordon Brown ... is seen as a better and stronger leader than David Cameron... But the Conservative leader is well ahead on charisma

Now that word charisma is an interesting one. Until quite recently it only appeared in its Anglicised form "charism", implying a gift of divine grace (which was how it was first imported into the language in the 1640s, when religion sold like hot pornography). Then Max Weber used it to mean
a certain quality of an individual personality, by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities. These are such as are not accessible to the ordinary person, but are regarded as of divine origin or as exemplary, and on the basis of them the individual concerned is treated as a leader [...] How the quality in question would be ultimately judged from an ethical, aesthetic, or other such point of view is naturally indifferent for the purpose of definition.
This dates from 1922 in the original German, and was only translated into English much later. Something else to blame on the bloody sociologists. And here we have the Times showing how a term can be thoroughly bastardised and debased.

Malcolm invites anyone, anyone, to give specific examples of Cameron's (or, not to be partisan, any other contemporary politico's) "supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities". Robert Mugabe, Kim Jong-Il and their ilk are, of course, excluded from consideration. Sphere: Related Content


yourcousin said...

I believe you did when you blogged about the Tory Winter Ball.

You noted that Cameron appeared in a velvet suit with and open collared shirt. You then went on to say that (if I remember correctly) that he then held the next ball at a gay club. So here we have we have the leader of the Conservative party it seems openly courting hte metro-sexual and homosexual vote. Not only that but doing well the polls too.

If these things are true then it appears that Cameron may indeed have supernatural powers.

Malcolm Redfellow said...

Not quite in a gay club: merely somewhere adjacent. One cannot vouch for the clientele of either joint, however.

Cameron's "supernatural powers" are more to do with the buoyancy of hot air. And, in the last few days, the air is cooling.

yourcousin said...

Find me a politician anywhere with high approval ratings and chances are that you'll find buoyant hot air (maybe that why Jesus was able to walk on water).

yourcousin said...

damnit I really have to start reading what I type. Should have read "maybe that's why..."

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