By Will Davies
Published Monday 8th November 2004 18:36 GMT
Election 2004 Here’s a fable. In summer 2004, a vacancy comes up in a London office, and the manager sets about recruiting. He interviews a blue man and a green man. The blue man has impeccable qualifications and very good experience. The green manâ€™s qualifications are weak, and he is under-experienced – but he’s witty and he gets on well with the manager.
After more background research, the manager reflects on their qualifications and experience, and he also reflects on their personalities and reputations. He decides that although the blue candidate is clearly better on paper, that he got on so well with the green candidate, that he will give him the job. He reckons heâ€™ll fit in well, despite the fact that he isnâ€™t an especially strong candidate. Thatâ€™s the politics of groups for you.