This is a political history of haircuts.

Ronald Reagan was an advertiser's American dream when it came to hair. Whether you liked him or not, he looked like a winner in a Hawaiian travel brochure. All swooped up with gel was the hair, which formed an undying friendship with his remarkable souped-up smile. Grey-navy blue was the colour of the grey wavy do. A male doll of a cut.

His Kiwi contemporary David Lange's hair came in navy-blue grey waves, too. But less convincingly, chiefly owing to the lack of gel and the excess of length; it was a floppy arrangement up there. Quite oceanic in its own way with waves determinedly going about their own self-navigated business. The massive red-frame glasses weren't really marine, mind you. They were more grandmotherly.

Helen Clark's hair was threadbare. There wasn't much happening up there, but at least its colour corresponded with her party's colours. Jenny Shipley's was stuck-on, but also in agreement with her party's colours, from memory. A real renaissance haircut. And Jim Bolger's was that of an aged rugby luminary. He could've been an All Black with that hair.


Richard Nixon had a frizzy, neatly cropped top. Gerald Ford a priestly sweep. JFK a slick slap. Bill Clinton's hair was as woolly and vague as the man himself. There was nothing specific about it.

Back here and now in New Zealand, The Right Honourable John Key has a right honourable papal hairdo. As in the hair he has is shaped like the cap the Pope wears. That's no mean feat for a non-Catholic Jew-ish man. It's all in the way the tilted hair hugs the rear ridge of his head. It's quite something. It sits like a good Indian meal, also, now that I think about it.

Michael Joseph Savage had a priestly sparkling sprinkling of hair that seems to illuminate in the black and white photos. Dwight Eisenhower, although his person looked priestly, was virtually hairless. Saddam Hussein's was a curly knock-off of Josef Stalin's stick-up job.

David Cameron's Postman Pat-like face and head are surmounted by a stuck-up-straight job which isn't curly enough to be likened to Postman Pat's jovial mane.

And our Shane Jones has a solid Tom Jones curl-up.

My personal favourites though are the political hairdos which are statuesque, like John Kerry's. This rare hair would look the part on a statue for its immovability. You wouldn't even have to use sculpted statue hair - you could attach it to the statue's head, no trouble.