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Mark Simpson on why size matters in the privacy of the voting booth

Dame Democracy is a bit of a size queen.

Actually, she’s a lot of a size queen. The vital statistics she’s really interested in are not the size of the money supply or the rate of inflation, but the heft of a politician’s inflatable. All those graphs, statistics and ‘swingometers’ on election programs are trying to answer the only question that anyone’s really interested in: which candidate is hung like a baby’s arm?

And like a lot of size queens, Dame Democracy instinctively feels that men with faces like a bag of spanners are more likely to be packing a bigger monkey wrench. This is why we vote for men – and they usually are men – that you might be forgiven for thinking no-one would lay if they were the last suit left standing at the office party.

Of course, there are exceptions: Kennedy was a looker and still made the Presidency of the United States. But the American public was swayed by the fact that his father had one of the largest penises in the American Underworld, and Jack’s encouraging habit of fucking everything that moved – including one or two things that didn’t, such as Cuba and Vietnam.

Nixon was a man who strutted around like the proud possessor of a real tonsil-teaser. Perhaps this is why he was elected in 1969. However, a special Senate Committee was set up to investigate the true dimensions of his masculine virtue, calling witnesses and threatening to subpoena certain ‘tapes’ which, it was rumoured, would reveal the ‘whole picture’ and the full extent of his naughtiness.

Exposed as a liar, Tricky Dicky spent the rest of his life in disgrace, proving that there’s nothing the public hates more than a pussy-teaser who doesn’t deliver in the luncheon-truncheon department. His successor, Gerald Ford, didn’t measure up either, despite the encouraging impression conveyed by his habit of losing his balance and falling forwards whenever he became excited.

President Carter, it goes without saying, had the smallest penis in the history of American democracy. Political scientists had to employ high-powered optical instruments to locate it. The American public was initially fooled by his lazy, self-satisfied Southern Drawl and his intimate knowledge of farming practises, but Afghanistan and the Iranian hostage crisis soon revealed him for the short dick man he was.

So the US dumped Jimmy and plumped for Ronald ‘It’s Morning in America and I’ve got a woody’ Reagan whose virility was so enormous that it even promised to reach out into space, where it’s vast, hi-tech dome would protect America from penetration by Russian warheads, and eventually cow the Reds into submission. Which it did. Even if it actually belonged to Nancy.

That his Republican successor was called ‘Bush’ was hubris indeed. Despite his reaming of Saddam in the Gulf War, it was inevitable that someone called ‘Slick Willy’ would force him to submit. By the same token, Dole was never in with a chance in 1996 as his name rhymed with ‘hole’.

The last British leader to sport a world-class weapon was Winston Churchill, a man who didn’t need to read foreign muck like Freud to understand what sucking on a Havana cigar could do for his public image. But then we lost an Empire and gained Clement Attlee – someone Churchill once described as ‘a harmless, penisless, grass-grazing creature in the clothing of a harmless, penisless, grass-grazing creature’.

Sir Anthony Eden lost his dignity up the Suez Canal in 1956 but his successor Harold Macmillan thought he knew what the public liked when he crowed that we’d ‘never had it so good.’ Even though he was a promisingly tall man with large feet, the punters decided that they had had it better, actually, and dumped him for Harold Wilson who smoked a big black pipe.

But Wilson suffered a foreign exchange crisis which shrank the ‘penis in his pocket‘ and eventually lost to Heath who had the biggest nose in British political history but who led us into an unwilling threesome with Europe and its garlicky vagina dentata. Happily, he was brought to his knees by the stalwart miners (stiffened no doubt by being raised on Attlee’s free school milk, which did much to ensure the full muscular development of the lower orders).

So Wilson won again, but suddenly cut himself off only two years into his term of office. Callaghan plugged the gap but despite palling around with the TUC big boys he never quite got over this psychological blow and was forced into the hands of Jeremy Thorpe and the Liberals who massaged his frail majority for him.

Little wonder then that he was no match for Margaret Thatcher, a woman with the largest penis since Winston, her idol. Indeed it is rumoured that her penis was Winston’s, which after his death had been pickled in a jar at Conservative Central Office for the day when England would need it to rise again.

But Thatcher proved that even in the greedy world of politics you can have too much of a good thing. The Poll Tax and EMU had nothing to do with her downfall. In-party jealousy over her gargantuan Hampton Wick was to blame. Excessive endowment, you see, can blow up in your face (see also Alan Clark and Michael Portillo).

To appease the humming-bird tendency and heal the rifts in the party, Maggie’s successor, John Major, was chosen precisely because, despite his bragging name, he possessed an even smaller penis than Jim Callaghan. After being trampled on for years by Maggie Stryker, Major was a man that the Tories could at last look down to.

That he managed to defeat Neil Kinnock, a bald Welshman with a large nose who played rugby is further evidence that size alone isn’t always the determining factor. Sometimes the electorate will choose a man with a smaller penis simply because he doesn’t have red pubes. Shape and symmetry also count for something. Despite a consensus amongst psephologists that Blair’s membrum virile is bigger than Major’s Minor, there does appear to be some anxiety as to the actual width and weight of his instrument and whether it is one of those nasty numbers that has an unexpected bend to the left.

Whoever Britain’s next Prime Minister is, and whatever the dimensions of his electoral tackle, it seems inevitable that Dame Democracy’s attitude will eventually echo that of a size queen friend of mine who always crows about the size of her latest amour’s penis – ‘Mark! It’s MASSIVE!!’

Only to announce, usually about a week later, that she’s no longer seeing him, saying: ‘Oh, I didn’t like ‘im anyway – ‘e ‘ad a really small dick.’

(Originally appeared in Attitude magazine, 1997 and collected in Sex Terror: Erotic Misadventures in Pop Culture)