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Saturday May 2, 2015

The perils of naked ambition

Few politicians can boast a torso like Poldark

As the British General Election draws ever nearer, a racier kind of political campaigning appears to be taking place in Spain for its local elections. Recently in Portugalete in the Basque country, right wing mayoral candidate Yolanda Couceiro Morin stripped off for a promotional poster on behalf of party for freedom Manos Limpias, clean hands, that left little to the imagination despite two strategically placed slogans.

Meanwhile Luis Alberto Nicolás, socialist candidate for the PSOE party in Cantabria in the north of the country, also threw caution to the wind by removing all his clothes for a hard hitting political poster. Despite the presence of a token rose applied to the image to cover his modesty, there was enough flesh on show to rival a local butcher’s window. This time the rather untoned politician shamelessly offered front and back images of himself with the bizarre strip, sorry, strapline, ‘I’m better than you and you know it. If not, prove it.’

Unfortunately for the luckless would-be Chippendale, such shock tactics were not appreciated by his party and he was ordered to halt the campaign. He had already distributed 50 posters throughout the town of Meruelo and publicised the initiative via the party’s Facebook page.

Naturally this sort of barefaced cheek during election periods is not unknown in Spain. Lest we forget, the young socialists campaign in Catalonia back in 2010 showed a young woman simulating an orgasm while posting her ballot paper at a regional voting station. Even in 2006 politician Albert Rivera was photographed in the buff as he launched new political party Ciudadanos, citizens.

And of course the secret life of local politicians can prove even more surprising than their campaign posters. In Toledo in 2012 a sex tape went viral that featured Olvido Homigos Carpio, a town councillor for socialist party PSOE. The mother of two was vilified by some and applauded by others while persuaded by her own party not to resign. Thanks to her notoriety she has since forged a successful career on television.

What is bizarre is that deluded politicians such as Luis Alberto Nicolás honestly seem to think that the local electorate would appreciate seeing them in a state of undress. One could understand such hubris if the man had the smouldering looks of Poldark’s Aidan Turner or at least a well honed physique but sadly he has neither. All we can hope for is that Nick Clegg, Nigel Farage and David Cameron don’t draw last minute inspiration from their Spanish counterparts. As it is we have Ed Miliband enjoying dubious stud status among teenage fans who’ve set up #milifandom via twitter.

It’s unlikely that any study has monitored the positive or negative effects of such posturing political campaigns but for my money I’d say most voters – amidst heavy guffaws – would think that their preening protagonists deserved more than a good dressing down.

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