i Editor's Letter: From Kinnock to Trump, men are defined by our hair


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The Independent Online


So many serious things to discuss today, and i is blessed with journalists far better qualified to analyse them than me in Dominic Lawson on Leveson and Steve Richards on Ukip. So, what falls to me is the crucial matter of hair. Particularly, men’s hair.

It’s Michael Fabricant’s fault. The Tory strategist’s proposal that his party should forge an electoral pact with Ukip has created many waves. However, much as I tried, I couldn’t focus on anything he said yesterday, because of his hair. Well, apparently, it’s not his hair, but a wig. I write “apparently”, because it is difficult to imagine anyone choosing the style for themselves if they weren’t the tufts you were born with.

Men are so defined by our hair, and I don’t just mean the obvious: Donald Trump, say, or Boris Johnson. I’m convinced hair was a factor in the failure to get elected Prime Minister of Michael Foot, Neil Kinnock, even the magnificent Michael Heseltine. We like leaders whose hair doesn’t get in the way: Cameron, Brown, Major (although greyness became an issue). Ed Miliband is safe as long as the family’s Mallen Streak remains in check. I would have said Tony Blair, but his recent penchant for hair colouring has given his enemies (even more) ammunition.

We have moved on a lot from the days baldness was an issue. The  desperate Bobby Charlton combover went away, to be replaced by the cool No 1 grade buzzcut displayed by everyone from David Beckham to Bruce Willis.

Which brings us back to the wig. We all know the  woes of a bad hair day, but a wig? Can a man ever wear a wig and be taken seriously? And if not, why not?