Will celebrities please just shut up about politics

Whether on poverty or Israel, why do celebrities have to use their platforms to pontificate on politics when they don't know what they're talking about?

by Robin Mitchinson on 23 August 2013 10:34

There is a story that I hope is true about the tax-dodging Irish guitar-plucker who is saving Africa. In the middle of a live performance in Glasgow he stopped playing mid-‘tune’ and started to clap slowly. ‘Do you know’ he said ‘that every time I clap an African child dies?’

And a voice in the audience yelled back ‘Well, stop f*****g clapping, then!’ That puts into context the absurdity of so-called celebrities using their position to stuff their half-baked political views down our throats.

Now we have the egregious Nigel Kennedy at it, he of the ludicrous clothes and faux-Estuary accent (his natural speech is Received English, proper posh). He chose a BBC concert to say something very silly and offensive about Israel – ‘apartheid’ he called it.

Well, Nige, does Israel have racial segregation of housing, education, public transport, public lavatories, shops, hospitals, clinics, in fact everything? Does sex between a Jew and an Arab carry a long prison sentence? Do Arabs have to carry a dompass at all times? Are they banned from all political office?

No, I thought not. So play the fiddle, not politics. What is it about celebrities that they believe they have a unique socio-political message for us ordinary mortals?

There is ‘Sir’ Shaun Connery, an ardent advocate of Scottish independence and supporter of Wee Eck….at long range from  the privations of the Caribbean.

We have Madonna hoovering up African kids. As she is constantly on tour perhaps she puts them in the equivalent of kennels during her absences. Her imperious ways have certainly gained her no friends in Malawi, where the controversy over her purchase of a  baby still rumbles on.

And Oprah, whose intervention in girls’ education in South Africa has gone terribly wrong. Plus a knighthood for Baldrick for ‘political services’ (Socialist, natch, surely the most ridiculous ‘honour’ since - well – Dellboy Trotter).

There are many more – Bono, Bob Geldof and the rest - who believe that they are uniquely qualified to pontificate about poverty, climate change, Syria, or whatever current topic is ‘sexy’; they always have a nostrum for all the world’s ills.

As Clement Attlee once said of one of his more-than-usually garrulous MPs, ‘ A period of silence would be welcome!’

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