Friday, 29 May 2009

Cleaning up Westminster by recruiting MPs from I'm a Celebrity. Perhaps the stupidest idea ever?

I appreciate that Joanna Lumley made an effective campaigner and offered the Ghurkhas a recognisable public face. However, on the strength of one semi-relevant precedent, I cannot quite understand why the prevailing mood seems to be that our discredited MPs should be removed at one stroke and replaced by a cohort of celebrities.

Radio 4’s ’Any Questions’ panel included Esther Rantzen, whom the nation seems to have decided would make an excellent representative at Westminster, as adept at ferreting out misuses of public money as her extensive team of researchers proved at finding tragic human interest stories for the audience to coo over on ‘That‘s Life‘. Apparently she is still deciding whether she should stand at the next general election, prompted by a popular clamour. ‘Don’t bother’ shouted one discerning audience member.

Whilst there is nothing inherently wrong in pursuing fame and fortune on television, is someone who has taken that path necessarily going to be less venal that the men and women who have chosen politics as their profession? Have we not had enough idiot MPs' publicity stunts without recruiting from the ranks of I'm a Celebrity - Get Me Out of Here?

Periodically we have a public outcry about salaries at the BBC for goodness’ sake. Now television personalities are paragons of virtue and greed is the preserve of those who are drawn to stand for public office.

I don’t know whether Esther Rantzen lives a frugal life or not, but I’m willing to bet that she has been well paid throughout her career and is not a stranger to having things paid for which you and I are accustomed to financing ourselves.

And incidentally, I’m becoming ….. just a little tired of every political debate on TV or radio becoming mired in questions about expenses. Public anger might be justifiable, although let’s face it, there are other, even more lamentable things in the world on which to vent one’s fury, but there is more than one live issue in today’s politics, however much the media would like to insist otherwise.

By all means let’s have some changes for the better and indeed let us choose a new crop of politicians at the polls, but can we perhaps consider some other matters as well?

1 comment:

Seymour Major said...

I never liked Esther Rantzen. She always struck me as somebody who craved popularity. She has a snout for finding causes which are popular. It looks like she is at it again.

She was at the head of the consumer champion show "that's life" which was particularly popular because it was also humourous - but it was the others who worked with her that made the show a success.

She was there at the beginning when child abuse came out of its taboo (all around the World) and helped to set up 'Childline' - a highly commendable project but one, I suspect, that some other celebrity would have been involved in if she had not.

She is not politician material. She would probably win an MP's seat. She has been used to being popular but then she has always sat on a popular cause. As an MP, she would soon find out how hard it is to juggle political priorities.

Her personality would let her down. She would soon get sick of it without having achieved anything. She would be a complete wast of space and a waste of a vote.