The Increasing Irrelevance of Celebrity Politics


It’s easy to become frustrated by right-on celebrities like JK Rowling and Gary Lineker. The kind of reverend preachers who dissolve moronically into the regressive left cultural soup like soggy croutons in a rancid onion broth.

Aloof, blinkered, and dismissive of the opinions of ordinary people, they seem willing to put lives and liberties in danger for no other reason than to preserve their own warped ideology.

But take a breather and you remember that they’re not deliberately nefarious. They believe earnestly that they’re doing the correct, moral thing. And that is at once chilling, and simultaneously a paradoxical reminder of all that needs protecting in Western democracies.

It’s chilling because it illustrates their unknowing indoctrination into the rigid cultural orthodoxy of the modern left.

And it’s a reminder of what’s at stake. It’s the freedom for ideas to swell and ebb, move in out of fashion, assume prominence and then be overwhelmed by something new, that has allowed such an insidious philosophy to assume primacy. The post-modern, self-contradictory mindset of the left is a harmful one, but its presence is part of living in a free exchange of ideas. Not all of the ideas will be good.

The unconstrained marketplace allows that bad ideas should, given time, be beaten and cast aside, and we’re seeing the long belated arrival of that process now. We see it in the rejection of the worst purveyors of identity politics—the Labour Party, and the Democrats in the US—and we see it in Brexit too, which is a restorative breaking away from the relentless homogeneity of the EU project. There’s a libertarian crackle in the air, and that’s the very antithesis of the smothering PC blanket of the regressive left.

Politically correct modern progressivism carries a disguised threat. It falsely presents itself as an ideology of niceness. Inoffensiveness. Morality, modernity and manners. When Gary Lineker supports ending the free press through Section 40, he’s killing freedom in the name of politeness and decency. In the pursuit of goodness. If you asked Lineker about the tabloids, he might opine that closing down the Daily Mail would be a great way to stop intolerance. Staring into the abyss, his make-believe battle to combat extremism turns him into a mini-extremist.

The refusal by many on the left to discuss the Islamic part of Islamist terror, or any problems relating to Islam at all, is due in part to as prosaic a motivation as blithe courtesy. To simply wanting to do the right thing. Nobody wants to be called a bigot. Nobody wants to be a bigot. And it’s very easy to buy into the idea that if we treat everyone nicely, then everyone will treat us nicely too. Celebrities are still doubling down on this misapprehension, but outside their rarefied bubble the long overdue shift in attitudes and behaviour is occurring. There is less fear of saying the wrong thing now, and less willingness to acquiesce to the progressive orthodoxy.

It feels like the ice is breaking, and that no topics are off limits now. It turns out there’s only so long you can get away with admonishing people for discussing the realities in front of them. The thaw hasn’t reached the celebrity sphere yet, and it might not ever, because they don’t appear to occupy the same world as the rest of us. That’s fine though. The more isolated they become and the less they understand the grounded discussion taking place among ordinary people, then the more freakish and hypocritical they will appear. And as their detachment grows, their influence will evaporate.

Sam White is a writer for Country Squire Magazine and has written for The Spectator & Metropolis. Other Sam White articles can be found by using the search box below (just type in Sam White) and also by looking here

4 thoughts on “The Increasing Irrelevance of Celebrity Politics

  1. “There is less fear of saying the wrong thing now, and less willingness to acquiesce to the progressive orthodoxy.”

    Not on the BBC, there isn’t.

  2. Sir,

    I feel that I must place on record my strong disagreement with your correspondent’s absurd suggestion regarding the fitness or otherwise of much-loved celebrities such as Gary Spineker, JK Growling, and Lily Allah to offer unsolicited advice and mould public opinion.
    The wise counsel offered by unqualified entertainers has long been of value in informing our national debate, and who amongst us can possibly doubt the value of the life experience garnered from having spent your adult life kicking a football around, scribbling nonsense about wizards, or making grubby pop videos ?
    The sage advice offered by George Formby to Winston Churchill on the Return to the Gold Standard and Arthur Askey’s contribution to the defeat of fascism, are but two examples of our indebtedness to popular culture, and who can doubt that Britain’s move into the post-War nuclear age hung upon the expert advice that poor Clem Atlee so eagerly sought from top chanteuse and part-time particle physicist Gracie Fields ?
    It is surely time that the world was made aware that Donald Trump undertakes no policy initiatives AT ALL unless and until he has consulted Julian Clarey.

    Usual disclaimers, I beg to remain, collapse of stout party etc.

    Sir Herbert Gusset c/o The Lamb and Flag, Winchester.

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