Hot on the heels of my Machiavellian guide to Blogging, I though I’d do a follow up – an equally Machiavellian guide to Politicianing. If you’ve ever fancied yourself as Prime Minster, or even fancy volunteering your services to a party to become backbench vote fodder, this is the guide for you.
#5 – Look the Part
Every wannabe politician must start with the basics – great suit, great hair and if you’re a man no facial hair.
If you’re ugly (or look shifty/tired), consider getting plastic surgery. Don’t overlook cosmetic dentistry, either – A winning smile can do wonders.
If you’re male and in your twenties, consider shaving all your hair off and wearing a wig before you start your career. People will not believe your hair has grown back by itself.
#4 – Sound the Part
Lest you end up like John Prescott, Hazel Blears or Ken Livingstone, get some Received Pronunciation (RP) training. Don’t worry about people thinking you sound ‘posh’, trust me – that’s exactly what you want. As much as people say they want diversity in accent, they still think anyone with a regional accent is a thicko by default, and RP does, still, impress the right people.
#3 – Acting Lessons
Sincerity, Sincerity, Sincerity. Or, at least, the illusion of the same.
Case study: You believe that kittens are devil spawn and you want them exterminated. A voter approaches with a tale: The council won’t pay for her kitten’s head transplant operation. Do you:
a) Break the kitten’s neck and declare, “Problem Solved”?
b) Explain that you disagree with publicly funded kitten head transplant operations, and give her a copy of the pamphlet: “Kitten Head Transplants: A Cost Benefit Analysis”?
c) Sit quietly, then, with a single tear running down your cheek, reach across to this voter, put your hand on her shoulder and say, “I’ll see what I can do”?
If you didn’t answer C then you want to start rethinking your career choice. You don’t ‘get’ it.
#2 Critical Thinking Training
Not because you want to be able to argue properly, but because you absolutely do not, under any circumstances, want to get involved with real arguments. Learn the rules to understand how they can be broken and abused.
The trick is sound like you’re agreeing with everyone else (you support and oppose fox hunting, for example) and importantly never answer the specific question you’re asked.
Instead, listen out for a key-words: “In NHS Hospitals, 300 people a day are dying of bubonic plague as a direct result of your policies! What are you doing about it?”
The key word here was “NHS”. Respond with your prepared statement on the NHS: “The real question is why you support policies that would see hospitals closing, while our policies would see 5,000 new gold plated hospitals opening with 1,000,000 new nurses a month, in real terms?”
Admittedly this is advanced politics – it’s for Ministers of State. Still, it’s extremely handy if you don’t want newspapers running a story about what you actually believe – certain political death.
#1 – Accumulate Dirt
The ultimate politician’s weapon: Gossip. Upon arriving be sure to ingratiate yourself as with as many politicians as possible. You need to pass yourself off as a friendly, warm trustworthy human, and they’ll tell you all sorts in order to show you they’re important people ‘in the know.’ Keep a diary. Make notes.
Your aim is to accumulate a dossier on your rivals in order to blackmail your way to the top, whilst remaining squeaky clean yourself. Auto-erotic asphyxia is considered a bit of a no-no, even in these sexually liberated times so put your political career first for now and leave the fetishes until you’ve stood down as PM.