Dress Down Friday

Political Heroes

In Gene’s Normblog profile last week he named Abraham Lincoln and Vaclav Havel in response to the question “who are your political heroes?”. Both also turned up earlier last week in a poll by Communicate Research, in which British MPs were asked to name their own political heroes. The most popular choice, with 18% of votes cast, was Nelson Mandela, followed by Margaret Thatcher, Winston Churchill and Tony Blair.

Other choices included Fidel Castro, Josiah Bartlett from The West Wing, and King Théoden of Rohan, from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. You may remember that Théoden was an absolutist monarch who became corrupted by his courtier Gríma Wormtongue, who was secretly working under the orders of the wizard Saruman. I say “secretly”, but he was quite obviously evil, looking as he did like this, and hissing all the time. Nevertheless Théoden didn’t suspect anything, and under Gríma’s influence he allowed Saruman’s orcs to enter the kingdom of Rohan, “roaming freely across our lands. Unchecked, unchallenged, killing at will”, in the words of his nephew Éomer . For this Théoden banished, and only realised the error of his ways following the intervention of Gandalf. Without Gandalf’s help Théoden would never have come to the aid of Gondor, Gondor would have fallen and the Dark Lord Sauron would have crushed the free people of Middle Earth, all of which would then be under the rule of Mordor, for ever. So an excellent choice then.

Abraham Lincoln, John F Kennedy, Mahatma Gandhi and William Pitt all received one vote, as did Labour MP for Luton North Kelvin Hopkins, who I rather suspect of having voted for himself, in the hope of being mentioned on this blog. If so then congratulations Mr Hopkins, it worked, and you’ll be pleased to know that you are officially more politically heroic than George Orwell, Edmund Burke and Martin Luther King, who all received no votes. One MP voted for “All who oppose injustice and tyranny on big or small issues”, which probably counts as another vote for Kelvin Hopkins, and one voted for Virginia Bottomley. Her vote may have come from husband Peter, the MP for Worthing West, or she may have some other secret admirer. I’d be disappointed though if MPs were using a serious poll like this just as an excuse to flirt with one another. Anyway, I’m throwing open the question to Harry’s Place readers: who, other than Kelvin Hopkins, is your political hero?