Monday, May 18, 2009

Right, then left, then right again

Celebrity endorsement is nothing new in politics; Gerry Halliwell was one of many of the 'cool Britannia' set to back Blair's Labour and half of America's glitterati fell over themselves to jump onto the Obama bandwagon. In the UK in 2009 things are a little different. The party that the celebrities seem to be flocking to is the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). Perhaps it is with the expenses furore and fiasco as a backdrop they are emerging as the party with the most realistic chance of seeing off the far right while also registering a protest against the parties in Westminster. Not sure if Nigel Farage would, if he had the choice of celebrities, would choose these. The BBC News shows Frank Carson arguing "I'm disgusted with the way politics has gone in this country and I'm urging people to vote UKIP", though he also talks of ditching human rights legislation which may be unwise. But full marks to former Green Cross Code man Dave Prowse for the soundbite ""I've looked right and left and right again and the only party I can safely vote for is UKIP." Of course UKIP are not alone. The Scottish Greens state the party has the support of "Joanna Lumley, Anita Roddick, Mark Thomas, Terry Jones and Jeremy Irons" though perhaps this is a little dated as sadly Anita Roddick passed away in September 2007.

Does it matter, well perhaps and perhaps not. Celebrities can be looked to as gauges of who to trust; but only if they have the trust and respect of broader society. Joanna Lumley could have an impact currently if she campaigned actively for the Greens on the back of her Gurkha campaign; Prowse, well those of a certain age may remember him (as pictured) or as the body but not the voice of Darth Vader but like Carson he is not exactly a household name. But support is support and it gets the party in the news at a time when the election is suppressed by and framed within the expenses row discourse. Thus nothing positive hurts!


Matt Hurst said...

Well that's two more "celebrities" I won't be listening to.

Trade with our old "empire" mates, give me a break please.

Praguetory said...

Celebrity chef, Rustie Lee is standing for UKIP in the West Midlands. The soundbite from her on their leaflet - 'this is about space, not race'.