Politicians and world leaders may seem like another kind of species. We see them spending every waking hour representing their country, their party, and their policies. But we rarely find out anything about them outside of this. British PM Theresa May gave us the infamous quote about running through fields of wheat in her youth, while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is famous for collecting photographs of manhole covers and making homemade jam. While the majority of the Great British public probably don’t share these hobbies, have famous politicians ever indulged in anything that resembles what the regular citizen gets up to?
British Prime Ministers
The office of Prime Minister has been occupied by a variety of different people throughout history. While many spend their time drafting policy, dealing with infighting, and shouting across the House of Commons, most have had hobbies befitting the general public. Ex-PM David Cameron enjoyed playing tennis against a machine he called ‘the Clegger’, a nod to his deputy during the coalition government and also singing on his karaoke machine. The relaxing helped Cameron maintain his complacency during some trying times for the country. While Winston Churchill was a huge fan of the casino, having visited Monaco a lot, and reportedly using the excitement of playing blackjack, poker and roulette helped him to think with a level head when it came to matters of the country. Indeed, playing a roulette game or a round of poker can help to release excitement and tension. While Tony Blair announced that he enjoyed playing the guitar in his spare time, which helped to ground him with the public for a new era of Labour, bringing us into the modern era with a modern leader of the country.
The US presidents also enjoyed a range of hobbies, from Jimmy Carter’s peanut farming before he became President, while George Washington loved dancing and Abraham Lincoln became a skilled wrestler. John F Kennedy was a fan of the James Bond book series and his inclusion of From Russia with Love on his list of favourite books reportedly led the film to be the second produced. While Ronald Reagan was no stranger to Hollywood – having been an actor himself before taking his seat in Pennsylvania Avenue. Politicians enjoying pop culture such as this helped ground themselves in realism and made them more relatable to the masses of constituents in the country. Barack Obama changed the White House tennis court into a basketball court based on his love of the game, which helped him to think strategically when making tough decisions during the recession. Ironically or not, Obama also cited watching House of Cards as a hobby, while also enjoying practicing playing poker.
World leaders announcing their hobbies to the public – especially ones which give them a stronger personality and make them seem less like speech-machines – can be endearing. Even ones as obscure as May’s and Corbyn’s gives us a glimpse into what they are like as people and how they can use these aspects of their personality to do the best for the country.