Editor-At-Large: Naomi, Wrighty, Bono... do what you do best and skip the politics

Why do celebrities feel entitled to spout their opinions? Their bizarre lives make them poor spokespeople for the rest of us

Share
Related Topics

Fresh from the contretemps that ensued when her luggage went missing and she left a plane in handcuffs, Naomi Campbell announces to an expectant world that she is launching a crusade for fellow victims "disrespected" by British Airways. The former footballer Ian Wright tells us he's no longer prepared to appear on the BBC because he's treated as "a court jester". This from the chap who has just signed up to present the new series of Gladiators on Sky One.

We might denigrate politicians for being pompous and self-obsessed, but at least they've had to go out on the street, knock on front doors, make speeches until they are hoarse and persuade voters to support them. Unfortunately, Naomi and Ian are part of the growing ranks of semi-famous people who feel such a sense of personal entitlement that they have to share their opinions with us on every subject from drinking water to corporal punishment. Last week, Lord Desai, (unelected) told an interviewer that "Gordon Brown was put on earth to remind people how good Tony Blair was" and compared the PM's style to "porridge or haggis". Well, that's sorted out the credit crisis, then.

I know that Naomi supports charitable causes by visiting Africa and appearing at rallies alongside Nelson Mandela. But the notion that someone who earns millions by modelling knickers and handbags understands the plight of ordinary travellers who lost luggage and experienced ghastly delays at Terminal 5 is extraordinarily patronising. Naomi felt "disrespected" after she threw a strop in a First Class cabin having paid more for her ticket than most people will spend on food in a year. This woman's take on normal is at best tenuous.

Now Ian Wright is suffering from the same folie de grandeur. I really like the bloke – he bothered to attend the funeral of a friend of mine, a big Arsenal supporter, before Christmas, and I admire him for that. But Ian, love, you present a show on Talk Sport radio, hardly the calling point for those seeking cerebral conversation . Why not accept you're good at frothy fun – and leave it at that?

Secretly, I'd love to be running Britain and sort out the mess the current incumbent seems to have got us into. But until we install a dictatorship, I reluctantly accept it's not going to happen. Under the current set-up I'd have to submit to the time-consuming process of getting elected before I could really start throwing my weight around and helping the "disrespected" in a meaningful way.

Real politicians have to accept that their private lives, their families and everything they've ever eaten for dinner is going to be subjected to microscopic analysis by the opposition and the media. We know more about Ken Livingstone's fertility than I feel comfortable with, so I'm amazed that anyone wants to enter politics as a career.

Two epic struggles are currently underway in the name of democracy – the battle to be the next Mayor of London, and the fight for the Democratic presidential nomination in the USA – and I wondered how long it would be before those well-known pundits, wealthy rock musicians, felt compelled to speak up. After all, Madonna, Bono and Bob G have lectured us about the need to deal with poverty, global warming and Aids. Selling loads of records seems to grant musicians quasi-statesman status, without the bother of standing for election.

Bono is more or less a regular at G8 summits, even though not one person has ever cast a vote for him. Bruce Springsteen, the king of US blue-collar rock, used his website last week to announce that he was backing Barack Obama because "he speaks to the America I've envisioned in my music". Are voters really so feeble that they'll vote because a rich rock'n'roller thinks it's a good idea?

Will Ken scrape in on 1 May because his list of "celebrity" supporters include the motley crew of comedian Bill Bailey (from Bath), artist Banksy (from Bristol), designer Vivienne Westwood (who said she was voting Tory last year so is obviously as confused as her pattern cutting) and singer Billy Bragg – who lives in rural Dorset. I love Jo Brand, but she should stick to stand-up, or stand for election.

Meanwhile, I await the chance to join Naomi's "disrespected" party. At least the T-shirts will be flattering.

A pair of eyebrows is no substitute for acting

This weekend the former wild man Colin Farrell's career rehabilitation is complete – his new thriller 'In Bruges' opens, and he's been lavished with praise for his portrayal of a contract killer holed up in the beautiful Belgian city waiting for instructions from his sinister boss, Harry, played by the completely mesmerising Ralph Fiennes.

I'm sorry, but I can't sign up to the Farrell fan club – he might be a reformed character, who tells interviewers he's enjoying being a dad, has given up the booze and likes staying in, but there's still the problem of those two fat black things over his eyes that dominate every moment he's on the big screen. They remind me of a couple of black furry caterpillars constantly wriggling in search of a lettuce leaf.

Farrell has two facial expressions – blank and confused – and never seems the slightest bit believable. The most distasteful aspect of the film is the completely unnecessary protracted violence, combined with black humour. It made my flesh creep – and those eyebrows didn't help.

Queen of Quidditch has a royal make-over

A week is a long time in court, and J K Rowling may be regretting her decision to take legal action against a fan who incurred her wrath by compiling a Harry Potter encyclopedia. Not only has the judge admitted he found the stories confusing, but every aspect of her appearance at the New York trial has been picked over by the fashion police.

Luckily, the queen of magic passed with flying colours, stepping out in front of the cameras with immaculate red nails, well-groomed blond hair, glowing makeup and sharp, well-tailored suits – without any wardrobe mishaps of the kind that blighted a recent appearance at a book awards ceremony.

Then, as her daring frock slithered downwards, her publisher had to use his hand as a modesty shield. Jo Rowling has learnt a lesson from that Judy Finnegan-style embarrassment and has based her new look on a more regal role model.

Take a look at that handbag she clutched on the courtroom steps – it can't have been more than four inches square. It wasn't big enough to hold more than a lipstick, pen and credit card. The message: exactly like the Queen, J K is so rich she doesn't need to carry grubby money or normal detritus like you and me.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron's 'compassionate conservatism' is now lying on its back  

Tory modernisation has failed under David Cameron

Michael Dugher
Russian President Vladimir Putin 'hits his foes where it hurts'  

Dominic Raab: If Western politicians’ vested interests protect Putin, take punishment out of their hands

Dominic Raab
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform