Today we saw three leaders of UK political parties stand down after a night of defeat and dismay.
Now the parties need a new leader what have we learned from previous examples?
We want a male (women may apply, but must be outstanding candidates). He shouldn’t be too young or too old (Vince Cable is too old. Ed may have been a smidge too young). He should be handsome (many psychological studies have shown that we tend to assign positive qualities to more attractive people. They could be as evil as Mao and Hitler combined but if they look like George Clooney, we are smitten). He should be intelligent – but not too smart, it seems that the UK electorate are suspicious of people with a degree from Oxford (unless of course, it’s part of a ‘born to rule’ package with prep school and public schooling).
You should be able to eat a sandwich with unusual precision, but should never use a knife and fork for ‘finger’ foods.
Smoothness of skin is no handicap – a degree of natural ‘airbrushing’ around the jowls is acceptable. in repose you shouldn’t look to sad, and your eyes shouldn’t be too deep set.
You will have a spouse (conventional marriage for preference): she should be shorter than you, slim, English and not too successful. If you are applying for a Tory role, a public school background is an advantage in your choice, so is a large fortune. You will appear hand in hand with her at all times. Children are a must, but not too many. If one of those can be a wee bit disabled, we will look more kindly on your application.
You must refrain from hand gestures when talking, you must have a resonant voice (no stuttering, no nasal qualities either but these may be fixed with surgery if necessary). Ideally you should be able to speak without notes for at least an hour, while wearing a plain white shirt, with the sleeves rolled up.
You must be rich if you propose to lead the Conservative party, but if you aspire to lead the Labour group, your income must not exceed the national average. Your house should be modest and mortgaged. If you are not able to satisfy these requirements, please note that you can still become leader, however you must expect to be labelled a ‘hypocrite’ or indeed a ‘champagne socialist’.
You should not be ‘weird’ (though we have yet to determine what that means), have a sexual past or parents who were anything other than stockbrokers/miners. If your parents were of note in some field, or left you property this is acceptable if you are applying for a position in the Tory party, but if you are a Labour applicant your parents should ideally have been miners, postmen or similar.
NB it will be assumed that you have a public school background. Most of our applicants do, however you can apply if you have been to a ‘normal’ school. It would be helpful if you are able to describe it as a ‘grammar.
If you have had a previous job, well done. If you worked in politics that is unfortunate. We like our candidates to have very little or no experience of politics before becoming a politician. (We would prefer candidates who were postman, miners, banking executives or stockbrokers).
You should support a football team: it doesn’t matter which one (but avoid those clubs that are too successful and/or rely on foreign cash). Please note that once you state your preference, you should remember the name of your chosen club.
Consider your name: ensure that there is little likelihood of unfortunate punning; for example “Balls-up” ‘Milipede” or “Clegg”. If it is feasible for you to have a name that is slightly Francophone, please do. However if you are applying for the Labour leadership, you should consider a simple surname: e.g. Smith, Johnson.
Drinking: encouraged. If Labour avoid champagne, in most cases it might be best to stick to beer. By the pint.
Fashion. Not a requirement. Unless it’s a ‘quirk’ (only applies to candidates interested in the UKIP position).
Special requirements by party
Labour: should be ‘normal’ (although this is yet to be defined)
LibDem: should be comfortable with giving up your personal values and adopting a submissive attitude.
UKIP: racism is not essential, but it is an advantage.
Conservative: You should have no special interest in the truthfulness of your assertions. In many cases the ability to lie smoothly is an advantage. Have you met any of the people you may be required to demonise? No? Doesn’t matter, this is not essential to your application.