Why politicians really, really love celebs
I suppose it was inevitable. After millions of years of history where change occurred slowly, inexorably, we - at least in “advanced” nations - are seeing things move at breakneck speed.
So nobody should be surprised that in this era of reality TV, a new high/low (delete according to age) has been hit by US President Donald Trump and famous-for-no-apparent-reason Kim Kardashian West meeting at the White House.
My initial response was to be outraged at this ghastly sullying of a noble institution (the American presidency, not Brand KK).
It was bad enough when Mr Trump brought in his suitcases and unloaded his prejudices and inexperience in the White House.
Still, at least if he does trigger global economic collapse or World War Three, we’ll have been entertained by his tweets and his hair.
Nobody could say that about Neville Chamberlain, though 1938 Twitter would have been interesting for @PMNevilleC - “gr8 catch-up with @AdolfUberAlles. Signed it, owned it. #peaceforourtime”.
Sadly for someone who revels in misery, whinging and looking on the dull side, my spleen refused to vent. I’m now warming to the idea of Trump and Kim - perhaps even more so than the global Trump and Kim meeting of the hairdos.
For the one thing that most politicians have in common is their above-average egos.
Why else would you have your face on thousands of election leaflets, silently imploring “pick me!” from behind a vanilla smile?
I’m fairly certain it’s not ideological drive that enables them to sit through tedious Commons debates and select committee hearings - it’s that ever-present hope of a photo opportunity or a soundbite.
There are plenty of exceptions... aren’t there?
Anyway, if the way to a politician’s heart is through their ego, what better way than to offer a celebrity photo opp with one of the planet’s best-known people?
Tony Blair certainly lapped it up with his Cool Britannia gathering at Number 10 in 1997, cuddling up to Noel Gallagher and other stars while grinning that mesmerising grin. Why am I shivering?
Mr Trump was never going to resist, but he was being played - and I rather doubt he realised it.
Mrs Kardashian West’s motive, encouraged by many less famous campaigners, was to highlight the plight of prisoner Alice Marie Johnson, who has spent two decades in a US prison and isn’t eligible for parole.
Job done. Ego massaged, plight highlighted.
It’s a model for us all to emulate if we want our local MP to take an interest in our problems, or just to get some extra attention.
Bill Bryson did a splendid job of making people aware of roadside litter, while Jake Humphrey recently joined opposition to a plan to turn land south of Norwich into offices, industrial units and warehouses.
I’ve been thinking about who I could enlist to fan the flames of publicity for my pet peeves.
Perhaps Ross Kemp would stand alongside me to resist aggressive beggars in Norwich? He’d just have to say: “Oi, leave it!” I reckon Clive Lewis would be up for joining the fight.
The disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong could be the celebrity power behind my campaign to stop city cyclists jumping red lights, as if they are somehow immune from the rules.
He could catch them up and explain to them that cheats don’t prosper. Er, then again...
I’d get Dick Dastardly in to lead opposition to the battalions of pigeons that bomb our towns and city. Hopefully Keith Simpson, something of a military buff, will join this fight.
Finally, a real giant is needed to help with my campaign against the 25-storey tower block planned at the redeveloped Anglia Square.
How about King Kong? He has first-hand knowledge of the dangers of a tall building, having been attacked while atop the Empire State Building.
Chloe Smith can sit in his hand. What a photo opportunity - and what a bit of kudos for the Norwich North MP, mixing it with a giant gorilla.
At least one of these ideas is silly, but the point stands. If you want your project puffed up or your issue to explode, get in a celeb.
Reality might suck, but it also bites.