We here in the field of entertainment media would never suggest who you should or shouldn’t select as your elected representative. We leave that kind of thing to the more eminently responsible and traditional organs of the free press, who are able to wield their biases more subtly than we’d ever manage, like when they literally compose Buzzfeed-style listicles telling their elderly readers who not to vote for.
For their part, politicians want to make the strongest possible impression on us, and Ireland is swamped with election posters each cycle, which begs the question; how much can you tell about a candidate on first glance? We’ve all driven past a lamp post and seen, for a fraction of a second, some gurning eejit with a head like gammon steak bearing down upon us with a Number 1 plastered under his name. Are these merely to remind us of politicians we do know – and of whom we therefore already have an opinion – or are they trying to introduce to us a new player in the game, while providing us absolutely no information with which to form any kind of opinion? What on earth can you tell about a politician merely by their big rain-damaged face (whether it’s stapled to the side of a pole by someone making a fiver an hour or not)?
We thought we’d take a step outside the realm of political commentators for our experiment on this. To get a completely unbiased view, we went entirely out-of-country and, in fact, outside the pathetic confines of the material realm itself. We asked a prominent English psychic to study pictures of the following five candidates and give us her sense of them on first blush. She had never seen or heard any of them before and certainly did not know they were politicians running for major office. We merely asked that she assess them for recruitment to a very prominent managerial role, and one on which there was a lot riding. Chirpy and helpful throughout, she was in a very real sense, a happy medium.
It cost us fifty English pounds for half an hour, so within that time we had to settle for her opinion on just five of the candidates she took to, meaning we still have time for another go featuring your favourite candidate in future. For the time being, here’s what she said.
Psychic: The first man is the older man, looking to the right with a pink tie. He looks a much more conservative type, as if he’s fairly stuck in his ways, although not necessarily where voting is concerned. He’s fairly sensitive and he looks to me as if he has a fairly good sense of humour, as if he can laugh fairly easily. But I feel that he may be very careful about trying anything new. How old is he?
TSP: Enda is 64
Psychic: I feel you could trust him in that he’s down to earth and reliable, maybe a bit secretive about his private life but I think he might be quite good at getting things done if it involves lots of people, as in: maybe he knows lots of people and can persuade people to do things. I expect him to come across with a type of voice that people can trust.
TSP: I haven’t heard his voice yet, it would be a nice voice would it?
Psychic: Yes, and people would naturally trust him and he’s good at wheeling his way through things, and get the outcomes he’s looking for. If you want someone down to earth and dependable he’s the one you’d go for. But I think he’s also fairly used to working by himself so he might be slightly better leading or working by himself instead of as part of a team. I think he might be weary of anything outside his work knowledge. I also think he’s pretty good at cracking jokes and I think people would like him.
(I declined to mention Enda’s propensity for dispensing killer gags, and we move on.)
Psychic: Ah, the woman with the pudding bowl hairstyle, with all the teeth. My sense is that her self-confidence isn’t that good. It’s like a very artificial type of pose, if you smile like that for a photograph you’re trying to put across an opinion of yourself which might not actually be you. I think she may be very nice to people but might be rather artificial. Some people are so full of themselves they won’t notice. I think she’d be a very good hostess, nice to people, charming, and pleasant but never really showing her true self. If you’re needing someone who looks good on the outside and be a good host, she fits the bill rather nicely.
TSP: Do you think she’d have a temper?
Psychic: Yes, I think she might be offended by people who are naturally themselves because I feel that she’s not naturally herself. And she might find people who are not naturally themselves are rather awkward, as in she can’t quite work out what they’d do next, because if people put on an act, you can predict what they’ll do next. I think she might dislike people who are themselves but she wouldn’t show it in public. If she was with you alone, you might get a sense she doesn’t like you, but if she’s speaking to you in public she’ll be very charming, she can switch it on and off. I wouldn’t trust her.
TSP: Around valuables?
Psychic: I don’t mean she’d steal your wallet, but if you ask her opinion she’ll probably say what she thinks she should say rather than what she thinks. Looking perfect is important to her, being perfect is important. If you want someone showy, she fits the bill.
Psychic: She’s got her hands closed, not tightly closed but closed so she likes to keep herself to herself, she likes to keep her personal life to herself. I feel she’s nervous, and not 100% sure of herself but in actual fact she’d be a very good worker, very efficient. I feel she might get more done than other people in the same amount of time but I feel she might be better as part of a team rather than leading a team. Because I don’t think she has the confidence to be like the number one person. But I think if she knows what her role is, she’d be very great. She looks fairly sensitive, you could trust this person but her hands are showing nerves. If you’re looking for someone to do things, go places, coordinate things and do them on time, I think she’d be very good.
TSP: So she’s good then?
Psychic: Well, I do notice she has terribly uncomfortable shoes on. This means she likes to look like Mrs Average and she fits in, but dematerialises; she wants to be fairly invisible. I think she’d be good from a secretarial or coordination point of view. I think she’d be very useful but not in leadership. She’s not like [Joan]; she would not be a good hostess.
Her points of views are not going to change, out of all of them she’s one of the best, even though she’s giving off this nervousness and maybe her private life doesn’t work very well.
(TSP: I hurtle past discussion of Creighton’s private life and on to our next picture.)
Richard Boyd Barrett
Psychic: He looks rather nice actually, again we’ve got a very sensitive- probably the most sensitive person of all really. He almost looks in the picture as if he’s not quite certain of something, not quite sure how to deal with something or even what his opinion might be. Not sure of himself, I feel he would need somebody to almost tell him how to think or what to do, with the right kind of guru he could do quite well almost like in puppy love.
TSP: Puppy love?
Psychic: Yes, I think he could look up to someone who could explain things to him, and told him how to do things. That would give him more confidence, he’d also need praise. I think that if someone had him under their wing then he could probably be very reliable but left out on a limb by himself he’d be lost.
TSP: And his demeanour?
Psychic: Well, I notice that he has very uneven teeth, which on some level might mean a bad dentist but also that he’s an oddball. Might be difficult to predict. And he may have odd opinions about things. Doesn’t know what he thinks, but is quite calm because he thinks he’ll know what to do in the end. Which I know goes against what I just said, but that’s what we mean when we say oddball. That’s why you need someone in charge of him, someone who can keep an eye on him and for him to look up to.
Psychic: If he was a car salesman I wouldn’t trust him an inch. His teeth kind of bend inwards, which is odd.
TSP: Does that reflect something about him?
Psychic Always. Now I’m not a particular reader of teeth but I will point this out. He has glasses on, which makes it more difficult to see him.
TSP: I suppose glasses are see-through, so that helps.
Psychic And he may be short sighted and [referring to his wire frame glasses] it’s interesting that he’s obviously not allergic to metal. That smile is totally artificial, I feel that he could become anything you wanted him to be that’s why if he was a salesman I wouldn’t trust him. He can fit whatever bill you’ve given him but I wouldn’t necessarily trust anything he said. I know I said [Joan] was very artificial, but this is a different type of artificial, he’s trying to fit a role, not trying to look perfect for everyone. But his smile is artificial. One of the ways you can tell is that when people smile with their mouths but the little muscles around their eyes don’t move it’s artificial. I feel he’s short-sighted, if he didn’t have the glasses on he wouldn’t be able to see very well indeed. I think he’d be short sighted in practical terms, he wouldn’t think of the long term things. I don’t think he thinks that far ahead.
TSP: He’s short-sighted both literally and physically, then?
Psychic: Well of course, people who are short-sighted literally are actually short sighted where life is considered as well. People’s personality suits their eyesight. But I sense from looking at him that he is both. If you have a party he would be easy enough to get on with, but it’s almost like he doesn’t have a character, or strong views. He’s not demanding. And I think he may have had eyesight problems since he was quite young. I wouldn’t like him in a management position at all, it doesn’t feel right to me.
TSP: So who do you think is the best pick for the top job?
Psychic: I go back to Enda, Joan is too artificial, Lucinda has a bitter personality, Richard is an oddball so you’d have to be careful, and many people might go for Stephen. He’d suit the civil service very well because they always say in the civil service if a man’s useless they promote him to get him off the shop floor. Enda is the most useful.
TSP: So Enda. And if we decided that one of the others should work with him, in a team?
Psychic: If you wanted things done, Lucinda. Joan to be ordered about and obedient. Although I don’t know how much Enda would get on Richard they’re not obvious candidates. I don’t think I’d go for Joan with the pudding bowl haircut but that might be my opinion as I don’t get on with people like that. Stephen would probably do well with Enda, I think they might get on together, but I simply don’t think Enda could sort out the problems he’d have with Richard.
So there you have it.
It turns out that the psychic plane, when operating on an entirely instinctual level, has a rather disappointingly conservative bias. And we should add to that a hatred of pudding-bowl haircuts, an extreme tendency to distrust those who wear glasses, and a thing about inward-bending teeth. All of this combines, I think, to quite boldly redraw the criteria by which our democracy should operate. On the one hand, it’s a fairly dispiriting selection if you don’t particularly like your politics scaled from pretty-right-wing to holy-fucking-shit-are-you-serious? But, on the other we did spend 64 Euro on this, and it’s not like we’re mugs so I’d say she’s probably right.
Lesson learned? Psychics: they may look like librarians from Hogwarts, but they vote like that old lad in your office who forwards emails about immigrants. Although, having said that, we don’t yet have a psychic take on Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein or the scores of Independent candidates, so perhaps a Part II is called for? Hit us up and let us know, telepathically or otherwise.