Thursday 27 November 2008

Live long and prosper

Guest post by Lewis Cooper

Hollywood actors who win Oscars live on average three years longer than those who are nominated for an Oscar, but never win one, according to Sir Michael Marmot at the Fabian Health Inequalities conference this week.

Now, it is of course not my wish to make a comparison between Hollywood actors and politicians in terms of their need for public adulation, power or success, but I did think it might be worth checking for similar findings that may exist in Westminster. I thus did a quick search comparing the lengths of lives of Prime Ministers and their deputies. And sure enough: in the post-1945 period, those who achieved the highest office of Prime Minister lived on average 9 years longer than those Deputy Prime Ministers.

(This in fact rises to a difference of 12 years if we include the Wilson and Heath governments, where no official Deputy Prime Ministers were named, leaving it to the deputy leader of the party or leader of the House of Commons to claim the role- perhaps, indeed, this difference following a lack of official recognition itself further supports our 'finding'!)

Clearly then, we need to think about how we might address this issue of inequity: to develop the role of Deputy Prime Minister so that it can be more fulfilling, raising public awareness and recognition of the social utility of what they do, promoting the holder's sense of self-worth, and harnessing their full creative potential…

1 comment:

Sunder Katwala said...

very interesting

What about PMs and opposition leaders?