Deborah Hill Cone
Deborah Hill Cone is a Herald columnist

Deborah Hill Cone: Cunliffe's problem is that he just isn't sexy

David Cunliffe. Photo / Mark Mitchell
David Cunliffe. Photo / Mark Mitchell

My 6-year-old son went to see How to Train Your Dragon 2.

He showed all the emotions - excited, sad, laughed out loud, cried out loud. Then, when the movie ended, he said, matter-of-factly: "Well, that was boring."

That is how I generally feel about politics. Sure, on one level it's all death-grip, ego-demolition and hair-pulling, but yeah, nah, pass the popcorn.

So don't ask me why I seem to be thinking about politics this week. I think it's just that I'm secretly a bit obsessed with David Cunliffe.

Yes, I am well aware absolutely no one else in the entire country shares this fixation. I'm contrary like that. If everyone was an anarchist, I'd want to be a bank manager. I also know it seems rather trivial to be thinking about Cunliffe's sex appeal rather than the collapse of dairy prices or the mismatch between property prices and rents.

But make no mistake, sex appeal amounts to political capital. This week on Q&A, Winston Peters said: "You shouldn't approach politics from the perspective of personalities," which seemed particularly ridiculous coming from a leader like him.

But sadly for the Labour Party's polling, Cunliffe is simply not hot. It has made me wonder if there is a link between political ideology and sexual allure.

This week English writer Cosmo Landesman confessed that he thinks right-wing women are raunchiest. He admitted he'd prefer to shag Sarah Palin than Jemima Khan. Judith Collins? Sex goddess.

Landesman explained that when he had sex with a writer for The Guardian and in the heat of the moment said "I love you, you filthy slut!"; he got a lecture about the verbal demeaning of women. In a similar situation, a woman of the right said: "Oh, you do say the sweetest things to a girl."

He's not the only one who likes tough broads. Kingsley Amis always said Margaret Thatcher was his dream girl. "This quality [of sexiness] is so extreme that, allied to her well-known photogenic quality, it can trap me for split seconds into thinking I am looking at a science-fiction illustration of some time ago showing the beautiful girl who has become president of the Solar Federation in the year 2020." But I'm not sure the reverse applies. I hate to say it, but left-wing men are far hotter than Tories.

I'm not an expert, but my ex-lovers include at least one Marxist and one Hooray Henry, so I think I get to have an opinion, and lefties are racier. I get a bit of a flush just thinking about men who belong to the feminist, socialist collective.

(Disclosure: when I was a fourth-former with badges on my anorak protesting against the tour, I did have a crush on John Minto. Actually, only his chin.)

Anyway, the reason why left-wing blokes are sexier is mainly because they are angrier. For a start, they are generally radical in their views and that is always going to be more passionate than being an accountant. Men on the left, with their sympathy for the underdog and the working class, are, inevitably, more willing to face the gritty reality of life in all its messy, sticky imperfection.

This is not only better in a fight but also in the scratcher. Plus, lefties are less likely to mind if you have hairy underarms or your period.

On the other end of the spectrum, typical Tory-characteristics, like wearing a blazer with brass buttons and caring about getting into the right school, are deeply uptight and a big turn-off. Also, all those right-wing clubbish men seem to care more about getting invited to smoke cigars with the chaps than what a girl wants.

A lot of right-wing men have a touch of the Bertie Woosters and are actually scared of women. Hey fellas, not all women are nephew-crushers who chew broken bottles and kill rats with their teeth. Whereas left-wing men wear bone carvings and are more in touch with their feminine side.

I know someone is probably about to demolish my argument with two words: Len Brown. But you've got to admit he has no shortage of libido.

Overall, being snobby is never sexy. Which brings me to the problem with David Cunliffe. He lives in Herne Bay. He has just been on holiday. Skiing. In Queenstown. Where I bet you he was wearing his toasty red scarf. And tucking his shirt into his undies.

Debate on this article is now closed.

- NZ Herald

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