(N.B. Scroll down for our 5 second poll on the leaders’ debates).
Anhropology. Best studied in the most complicated place in the world: UK.
British people are currently overturning concepts of what it means to be an Alpha or a Beta male. Last night’s television Trial by Paxman of the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition was all about big male beasts and what is expected of them. The contest raised surprising questions about what exactly people today feel in their gut is a weak or strong leader. It seems that today’s voters might prefer a mixture of Alpha and Beta. Failings can actually be more attractive than more conventional winning traits. An intriguingly sympathetic public response to the perceived underdog, Ed Miliband, oddly computed his now almost endearingly familiar limitations as “new man” strengths.
Two men won in the drama stakes. Those did not include the Prime Minister. Paxman has already guaranteed his place in the gallery of phenomenal behaviours, and his post-career SKY-spangled meteoric comeback did not disappoint. But who could have guessed that his trademark unbridled savagery might be trumped by the infinitely more roguishly ruthless charmer, Ed the underdog, who claimed the territory anthropologists can now define as “Being a Human”. For this is where the decent Dave lost ground to his chillingly sociable opponent. Cameron struggled to lay a glove on the runaway Paxman, with his unfortunate constraints of a genuine gentleman whose Queensbury rules had not equipped him with correct tools for dirtier street fighting. That winded look often seen on the faces of Dave and George is not really a sign of being hit by any real blow, but a gasp of genuine surprise. By contrast, Ed was in his element, employing the full range of weaponry of a man whose intellectual comfort zone life is no great distance from the gutter. He actually squeezed “alpha” and “human” out of his personal story, while relating a tale of pre-meditated, cold-blooded fratricide. That self-conviction, shared by Tony Blair, is the unerring instinct of an alpha psychopath, is it not?
If you have not yet watched the programme, the way it ended was most revealing because it was a portrait of a natural bully’s punishment of … a natural bully:
When the mercurially withering Paxman plucked a dewy olive branch from the electrified air, flicking it towards his supposed victim with the disarmingly comforting :
“You alright, Ed?”
the Beta Alpha male instantly recognised Paxman’s classic ploy of one-upmanship tactics, and responded unerringly:
“Yah!… Are you?”
The Prime Minister, tough but not hard, was a helpless bystander at his very own imponderable duel.