On paper, she’s electoral gold. She’s pretty, young and well-educated. She looks great on a poster and even better in real life, bringing that X factor to politics. Except she doesn’t. When you meet her, she smiles at you and shakes your hand and affects to listen to you, yet you can’t help notice that the smile has all the warmth of an open fridge full of fish fingers. In fact, you can’t help feeling that the smile is like that of some sort of alien doppelganger, like someone who has only learnt how to smile late in life and is trying to copy someone else a little too hard.
Her earnest look is betrayed by that flicker as you talk to her, that millisecond when she looks over your shoulder to identify her next port of call. Yet the smile remains rigid, even though you know she’s not listening. And there’s the test right there: If you were to suddenly say to her “My mickey is unusually heavy. Would you like to see?” She’d keep smiling, her brain miles away, whereas a really good and forthright candidate would at least ask: “Fair enough. Will it increase the chance of me getting a number one?”