Political leaders come up with some novel reasons for holding or failing to hold elections. The new Japanese prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, has come up with a particularly distinctive reason for declining to call an election. According to The Times, he has likened his looks to those of a loach, a mud-dwelling fish. ‘I don’t think I can increase my support immediately, given that I look like this, so I will not dissolve the Diet’. I know that politicians are judged to a large degree on their looks, but this appears a striking admission. Either that or he cannot think of another reason to avoid an immediate election.