Politicians, not celebrities, should be the ones fighting this election

Ever since I was politically aware - which, given my upbringing, dates from around 1938 - I have harboured doubts about that indispensable PR tool called third party advocacy. The peasant in me tells me that it all depends on the third party.

Ever since I was politically aware - which, given my upbringing,

dates from around 1938 - I have harboured doubts about that

indispensable PR tool called third party advocacy. The peasant in me

tells me that it all depends on the third party.



Let me give you a personal example. Circumstances, such as obnoxious

’new age travellers’ and car parking charges, have encouraged me

publicly to support the Labour Mayor of Hebden Bridge, Councillor Les

Siddall whom I have never met. He seems genuinely concerned to look

after my home town’s interests. But I prefer not to think what I have

done to his reputation with the district’s zealots who appositely see me

as some mad Don Quixote - I do tilt at windmills - and urge me to retire

to Chernobyl.



’God save me from my friends’ is a familiar cry in politics. These days

it must be daily heard ringing around the splendid ceilings of No 10 as

the ’friends’ decide, for example, just how hostile or friendly they are

to a single Euro-currency. But breathes there a Tory with soul so dead

who never to himself has said that this - Sir Edward advocating Scottish

devolution and a minimum wage - is the finest thing that could happen to

us? If he’s for it, everybody else will be agin it.



It should therefore be obvious even to the most naive among us that

third party advocacy is a dangerous double-edged weapon. It has become

potentially lethal over recent years because of the media’s

determination to test to destruction not only those exercising power but

also their every associate.



Not even Mother Theresa is immune. The media now feeds us on a staple

diet of revelations about a girl who danced with a boy who danced with a

girl who danced with the Prince of Wales.



This brings me a new study which suggests that the power to sway public

opinion is shifting from politicians to stars of entertainment, business

or sport. It is claimed that the key to a fifth Conservative term lies

with England soccer captain Alan Shearer, publicity-mad businessman

Richard Branson or even Page 3 girl Melinda Messenger who,

unfortunately, is not available to be signed up. She has lost her heart

to Tony Blair. Their individual endorsement, it is said, could deliver

millions of voters to the Tories.



If so, why is Conservative Central Office wasting money on lions weeping

buckets of blood instead of signing up celebrities? The answer is, of

course, that politics is not just a pretty or famous face. It is a

fiendishly difficult calling. It is, indeed, a matter of life and death.

And celebrities are unreliable. The late Kenny Everett, backing

Thatcher, once talked of bombing Russia on an election platform. Third

party endorsement is over-rated.



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