When do politicians dance part 4: When they feel like it

snn2605b_682_1397144a (1).jpgIn the last post I turned to a 2009 research paper on why British and Dutch politicians chose to go on Have I got News for You and its Dutch adaptation, Dit was het Nieuws. The motives of the politicians who participated in these programmes drew from three distinct but overlapping repertoires: a strategic repertoire, an indulgent repertoire and an anti-elitist repertoire.

This post will look at the second of these repertoires (in relation to dancing publicly) which boils down to “having fun” and ” a nice change from day-to-day politics.”

They see their participation as one of the pleasant by-products of being a well-known politician, but do not expect or need any direct political benefits from it. There are some strategic motives of personal visibility involved here, but these are absent for the well-established politicians.

Take for example the appearance of Oona King (Baroness King of Bow) on Dancing on Ice in 2013. As she is quoted in a Guardian interview:

“[raising one’s profile] isn’t the reason I’m doing it. I’m doing it because I love ice skating. There must be something you love that you’ve never had the chance to do, and if it was dangled in front of you for long enough you would eventually crack. That’s how it is.” 

Similarly Edwina Currie, a Member of Parliament until 1997 appeared in Strictly Come Dancing in 2011 and and explained that she was motivated to appear not only her for her self but to inspire others to dance:

“After being approached previously, I had second thoughts this summer, as I broke my ankle in January and was in plaster for weeks and then found it hard to get back up on my feet. For a while I got quite depressed about it and wondered if I might ever walk without a limp again. But slowly it has improved, and then came the invitation. I thought, really I should try, and if I can do it, then it might encourage other people who have had injuries or accidents (especially older people like myself) that they should get out of the chair and start dancing. Life is to live – to make the best of yourself – and to enjoy!”

And more recently, serving MP Vince Cable starred in the Strictly Come Dancing 2012 Christmas special. The Business Secretary explained that he “loves dancing”, his one hobby, and that appearing on the show is something he has “often dreamed about”:

Of course there are some, like Jeremy Hunt MP, who love it but don’t show it. According to Michael Gove, the current Health Secretary is an amazing Lambada dancer with a sprung dance floor at home. He even used to train at Pineapple.

Some responses to this post

See also
When do politicians dance part 1: All in a day’s work
When do politicians dance part 2: Dance Diplomacy
When do politicians dance part 3: To be seen


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