From the Sketchbook: Ming…


Watching Ming’s speech today, something suddenly became very clear.
Ming’s got a problem.
And curiously, concidering all the speculations surrounding his leadership, the only person who identified it this week, was Ming himself.

His problem is not age. It’s not even energy. He’s probably fitter and works harder than most commentators who like to question his vitality. It’s not in itself his public speaking skills, even though they often leave a lot to be desired. Today’s speech was pretty good as a whole, even if you looked at it from an objective point of view. His problem is not that he’s the leader of a party more used to dealing with irrelevance than power. Nor is it solely an apparent lack of media friendly charisma.
It’s not policies, and it’s certainly not judgement.

It’s fear.

He looks frightened.

In the Q&A session with Sandi Toksvig he jokingly said he was “scared stiff” before his big speech. Ask any politician or performer and they will probably admit to similar trepidation. Ming’s problem is that it shows.
It might of course merely be an unfortunate genetic conisidence, but that doesn’t make it any less significant.
Approaching the podium, he looks apprehensive.
When opening his speech, he looks frozen.
When telling a joke, he looks concerned that people will not laugh – and too relieved that they are.
And when ending his speech he puts more energy into gesturing to people to get up on their feet, than emphasising his final point.

He might give a confident speech with regards to policies, vision and jokes, but when the face spells alarm, predators attack.


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