When David Steel played the toupee card

When David Steel played the toupee card

    Could covering up baldness become an issue these days?

Little politcal betting interest in the papers this morning apart from an Observer survey of branch chairs showing Ming Campbell and Chris Huhne running neck and neck. This has 19 branch chairs going for Campbell, 18 for Huhne and 6 for Simon Hughes. Clearly this was a very small sample but it does indicate the closeness of the race and is in line with the one published YouGov survey.

david steel border.JPGSimon Hoggart in the Guardian, meanwhile, has been recalling Liberal leadership elections gone by.

In his weekend diary column he describes the Liberal Party race of thirty years ago between David Steel and John Pardoe, who was said to be the activists choice. In the later stages of the campaign Steel alleged that his challenger had a wig.

Hoggart goes on: “This Lib Dem leadership election is pretty tame stuff. Back in 1976 David Steel, a tough political knife-fighter, knew that his opponent, John Pardoe, was easily riled and that his ill-temper could end any chance he had. So he mused in front of two reporters (me and the man from the Daily Mail, as it happens) about Pardoe’s missing bald patch. Where had it gone? When the articles appeared, Pardoe duly went berserk, talking about “descending into the sewer” and the “drip drip drip of the total lie.” Steel won easily. They seem innocent times.”

Modern toupees and hair transplants are much harder to detect although Google images can often provide pictures of a person over several years when it is possible to detect that something was done to their tops. It will be recalled that allegations were made on the site about one of the candidates in the Tory leadership election.

The Lib Dem betting, funny this, has remained almost totally solid. Huhne barely moves out of the 0.8-0.81/1 range while Campbell stays at about 1.56/1.

Mike Smithson

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