The Scourge of the Political Celebrity

Political celebs don't win elections, they just get in the way

There were many bad things about Labour’s campaign but perhaps the worst-judged aspect was the sight of the Stormzys, Steve Coogans and Hugh Grants of this world showing up on the doorsteps and Instagram feeds of the nation. The implication is that stardust helps win votes. So while we hear a lot about the celebritisation of politics, the metropolitan left may wish to consider the politicisation of celebrity.

To take one example among too many, the songwriter Ed Sheeran once said: “I love Corbyn. I love everything Corbyn is about.” Would the people of Blyth Valley have voted differently had Sheeran turned up on their doorsteps to inform them of that? When Mace sat down with Sting for this issue, he couldn’t resist a broadside at Westminster: “The worst people of my generation went into politics.” That view rarely survives contact with politicians. So the left take heed: wokeness doesn’t win. Ask Chuka Umunna.

6th February 2020