News People Prime Minister Tony Abbott joins the rise of the left

Prime Minister Tony Abbott joins the rise of the left

Tony Abbott left handed
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

Thanks to the recent G20 and APEC summits, there have been many deals, agreements, communiques and pacts signed and sealed.

There’s something you may have noticed during the extensive negotiation, handshaking, document signing and koala handling that went on: a large portion of the world is run by lefties.

• World leaders and koalas: the G20’s cuddly side
GALLERY: what really went on behind the scenes at G20

Our own Prime Minister Tony Abbott is famously left-handed, while British Prime Minister David Cameron and American President Barack Obama also possess the rare trait.

They are joined by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Have there ever been so many left-handed leaders on the world stage?

Barack Obama switches hands depending on the task.
Barack Obama switches hands depending on the task.

For US citizens at least, a lefty president is nothing new: Obama is the seventh in history.

What’s more, there is also unconfirmed speculation the president may be ambidextrous.

Firstly, Obama wears his watch on his left wrist, whereas most real left-handers wear their watch on their right.

The Washington Post also noted that the president uses his right hand for most hand-to-mouth tasks, specifically eating sandwiches and pizza slices.

Despite this, he still signs autographs and official documents with his left hand. It’s all very confusing.

“I can’t stop wondering whether President Obama’s ambidextrous tendencies somehow indicate ambivalent tendencies,” Huffington Post blogger David Finkle wrote.

“And I bet I’m not alone in this. Am I the only one tempted to read into quirks like this?”

There’s no doubt that left-leaning motor abilities have long been linked to a variety of different characteristics.

Unfortunately, the general consensus is that being a left-hander suggests a certain level of cursedness.

David Cameron shows his true colours when signing official documents.
David Cameron shows his true colours when signing official documents.

In Italian, the word for left is “sinistra”, which sounds alarmingly like the English word “sinister”.

In German, the word for left is “linkisch” – that translates to “awkward”.

Finally, the Latin word for left is “laevus”, which loosely translates to both “sinister” and “unlucky”.

Studies have also found a correlation between left-handedness and a variety of undesirable attributes, including shorter life span, lack of organisation and an affinity for witchcraft and sorcery.

Left-handers have also been found to be more likely to have autism, a stutter, dyslexia, ADHD and schizophrenia.

As if they didn’t have it hard enough already, throughout history the popular slang terms for left-handers have pretty much all been derogatory and unpleasant, ranging from “buck-fisted” to “cow-pawed”.

The silver lining for lefties? They’re unique – making up a tiny 10 per cent of the world’s population.

They’re also better at creative thinking than the rest of the population, less likely to get arthritis and more likely to have the upper hand in individual sports like boxing and tennis.

Regardless of the connotations, Abbott and his political counterparts are clearly part of a small, elite group.

Unfortunately, that group also includes Jack the Ripper and Osama bin Laden.

Try not to read too much into that.

View Comments