Monday, April 26, 2010

The election leadership debates and the elements

I am using the TV debates between the three leaders to further my diagnostic skills. We have here three people who interestingly appear to be of three different elements. Since I don’t know them personally, this diagnosis is obviously made on the basis of what I see and hear on TV and the radio, but here goes. Gordon Brown - Water, David Cameron – Earth and Nick Clegg – Fire (possibly Inner Fire, but I am not quite sure about that).

Gordon Brown (Water): we have here a person who we really can describe as “still waters run deep”, showing hesitation and fear except when confronted with the life and death situation of the bank collapses, where his will to survive surfaced strongly enough to pull the whole world in his wake, like an unstoppable torrent of water. But in a situation where interaction with others (the studio audience and the millions out there looking in) is required, his need to push through obstacles translates into a bullying, lecturing manner uncomfortable to watch and listen to. Of the three leaders, he is the most hampered by what can, in different circumstances, become his element’s qualities, single-mindedness, hard ambition and unyielding determination to get his way.

I think his skin colour looks bluish-black and he undoubtedly has a groaning voice, with that quality of never being able to stop himself of water in full flow.

Compare this with David Cameron (Earth), who has much softer edges, a more all-encompassing approach to those around him, obviously never happier than when he is surrounded by a group of people. I can’t remember ever seeing him doing his campaigning without this circle of people in the midst of which he stands at ease, enjoying his central role and thriving as soon as he is in the limelight. This is so unlike Brown who seems to shrink as he approaches people, and tends to move towards each person in a straight line, shaking their hands and then moving quickly on to the next, as though pushing each aside as he moves on. His attempts to draw the Conservative party into a more compassionate role, evidence of Earth's emotion, sympathy, sits uneasily with the much more hard-hearted conventional role of the Conservatives, and draws it closer to Labour, thus confusing the electorate.

I think Cameron’s skin has that overall yellowish colour of Earth, and his voice the undulations and soothing articulations of a singing tone.

And then finally we have Nick Clegg (Fire), beautifully positioned between the two others, with his Fire energy exuding warmth and humour, and with an ability to relate easily to anybody he is talking to, which includes both the studio audience, the TV audience out there and the crucial one-to-one encounters with television interviewers in which Fire’s love of such close interactions comes to the fore. He had no problem looking straight at the questioners in the TV debates, because this is the only way Fire can relate, addressing each of them directly and so successfully that the other two leaders were forced to try to copy him in the second debate, predictably somewhat uneasily. Cameron had to keep on reminding himself to stare straight at the camera, and Brown was even less successful in maintaining such direct eye contact. Clegg was (literally) in his element in these situations, revelling in just those kind of personal interactions, with the added advantage of the ability to see the humourous even in such an emotionally charged situation, including laughing at himself. This makes him appear more human, and forms a bridge to the listener, a quality Tony Blair (also Fire) had in abundance. It is no coincidence, then, that Clegg is being compared with Blair, as they have many of the Fire-like qualities which make for easy leadership.

It will be fascinating to see whether Water (Brown) can douse Fire (Clegg) sufficiently to come out on top. This was, after all, the essence of the relationship between Blair and Brown for many years, with Blair’s Fire either constantly vapourizing Brown’s Water or being extinguished by it, as neither overcame the other. Or will Cameron’s Earth prove strong enough beneath his feet to swallow up Brown’s Water and prove insufficient foundation on which Clegg’s Fire can thrive.

And, much more importantly, will the country as a whole want the optimism of Fire to lift them out of this economic depression and take them into the unknown rather than stick with the known?

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