The long and the short of it

September 9, 2009

sarkozyThe Mexicans have an apt rhyme for it: “Para ser presidente, hay que paracer presidente” –  to be a president you have to look like a president.

Maybe Nicolas Sarkozy’s advisors had something of the kind in mind when they hired a suspiciously short crowd to surround their man on a stage this week in order to make him look taller.

Not a bad idea, really — better than the old stalwarts like perching on a box or having those around you standing in trenches.

Sarkozy, at a mere 5 ft 5 ” is reportedly very touchy about his height, especially since he married Carla Bruni who notably wears flat shoes in the presence of her husband to disguise the four-inch gap.

But French leaders have form in this n’est-ce pas? Napoleon Bonaparte himself was just 5ft 2″ by some accounts, clearly so short that the only way of compensating for it was to subjugate Europe through war and conquest.

The connection between stature and success is mixed in other countries. 

Abraham Lincoln was the tallest American president at 6ft 4″ and James Madison the shortest at 5ft 4″ — he made up for it by largely writing the American constitution – while in Britain the great Victorian prime minister Lord Salisbury was also 6 ft 4.” Not much around on who was Britain’s shortest premier. Could it have been Lloyd George?

Do you think there is any correlation between height and achievement? Are there any outstanding short role models in Britain today?


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None whatsoever, Tony Blair is about 6ft, Brown is slightly shorter at 5ft 11… and both are useless barstools!!!

Posted by Ian J | Report as abusive

err, no. next question.

Posted by talksense | Report as abusive

“Are there any outstanding role models in Britain today?” is surely the first question. I think we all know the answer to that one, so on the fourth form Venn diagram basis, the answer to this question must be “no”. Or am I misremembering my school days?

Posted by Matthew | Report as abusive