As I watched Vince Cable of the Liberal Democrats score victory over Labour’s Alistair Darling, and Conservative’s George Osborne in Monday's Channel 4 TV beauty parade of Chancellors,profound words of wisdom from an American elder Statesman came back to me.
It was 1983. My first visit to the United States. I was on a 3 week US Government International Visitor’s Programme visit learning about American politics. A wily, wise, seasoned American observer of US elections had invited me to lunch in a up-market New York club with oak panelled walls. We were discussing elections and how much emphasis is put on the appearance of the candidate. He leaned across the table and said,
“Lesley, I’ll know when the United States is back on course. It will be the next time we elect a short, balding President. Voters will have chosen the candidate for their ability not for how handsome or attractive they look.”
In the Financial Times, Philip Stephens wrote "Politicians are not trusted; Mr Cable stands out from the crowd for common sense and authenticity."