Vladimir McTavish: Power stances replacing baby-kissing in politics

New Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, attempted to strike a determined pose when photographed on his first day in the job.

Monday, 7th May 2018, 6:00 am
Sajid Javid outside the Home Office in Westminster after he was appointed as the new Home Secretary. Picture: PA

Instead he looked faintly ridiculous. Javid was shot with legs splayed at a 45-degree angle. Known as the “power stance”, it is supposed to convey an image of control and confidence. Instead, it made him look like he needed to go to the toilet and was struggling to hold it in.

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Theresa May was pictured in the same pose at the 2015 Tory Conference when her facial expression made it look as if she had lost that particular struggle. The Prime Minister never looks comfortable in photo shoots. She frequently bears the demeanour of someone who has just realised that she may have left the gas on at home.

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Photo opportunities tell you a lot about a politician’s self-image. Ruth Davidson, for example has sometimes gone for the all-action shot, like driving a tank or riding a bucking bronco.

Politicians these days never seem to be photographed kissing babies. This may be down to modern parenting. In the 1980s, people did not seem to care what later-life trauma would result from their toddler being slobbered over by Margaret Thatcher. I suspect nowadays, most parents simply refuse the request.

Of course, Davidson has now guaranteed that she will be able to be photographed kissing a baby in future. Simply by having one of her own.