Grace Dent: Check your closet for skeletons, Rufus Hound. Britain likes its politicians squeakier than squeaky clean

I'm amazed that Rufus is considering swapping celebrity for politics

Share

I applaud Rufus Hound – the jolly nice actor-comedian type you may have seen in 8 Out of 10 Cats or in his starring role in One Man, Two Guvnors – for his aim to become a politician. He’s very het up about Jeremy Hunt and the NHS and, in his words, “did not want to become one of those people who whinge on and on, wringing hands and asking, ‘but why isn’t someone doing something?’”

Twitter is full to the brim of people whinging on and on and on. I’ve never noticed Rufus as one of those people, but there are a dozens of other sanctimonious Twitter blowhards and terminal curmudgeons who spend all day broadcasting their political mantra and examples of societal woe and injustice  while I inwardly chunter: “Why don’t you actually run for Parliament and do something constructive instead of bleating on, beating your chest and lapping up your retweets. It’s not like you’re busy. You’re on here all day tweeting links to the New Statesman.”

It’s a very different matter to come away from your keyboard and your role as an amateur anarchist or righter of wrongs and to try to become an official mouthpiece with power. I am amazed Rufus is doing this, because, firstly, being a celebrity is a cushy life of artistic and cerebral stimulation. A life of paid-for taxis, and having your face made up to look its best, in a squishy chair, while a make-up artist gossips about who is and isn’t a tit. In contrast, being a Member of Parliament looks to me like being in one eternal episode of Ever Decreasing Circles, with Richard Briers, where it takes them 28 meetings to decide what day they should hold the cul-de-sac’s pumpkin competition, resulting in everyone falling out and there being no competition at all. This is why Russell Brand – whom you may remember was instigating a revolution via Twitter late last year – does not stand for Parliament, despite his fury at British democracy and the marginalisation of youth and so on, but prefers instead to fart around in a yoga singlet achieving nothing but hot air.

The second, less obvious, reason that keyboard warriors rarely stand for Parliament or even push themselves to be the chief unofficial ombudsmen on a subject is that it is perilously exposing. The British are not ready to take advice from anyone who is less than flawless, historically perfect, and has lived without hypocrisy, but love to moan about the genre of human being – Jeremy Hunt, for instance – who had to the mettle to become an MP or great changer of “how we live”.

The ex-footballer Stan Collymore popped up last week to “do something” about  the question of racism, and to point out that in this day and age his being called a nigger or a coon or any other of the bleak racist terms that we put in the bin in 1970  is fundamentally wrong. Collymore spoke on numerous TV and radio forums,  calmly and vehemently, clearly not wanting to be one of those people “who whinge on and on” and instead making a stand. But Collymore was involved in a domestic violence incident more than 14 years  ago. How dare he – the response came  over social media –  remind us racism that  is unacceptable? The nerve! How dare he “do something” for future generations of young black men. By the evening, Collymore’s historical indiscretion was page one of a tabloid. Collymore feels about racism as Hound feels about the NHS. What Collymore was told here was  that there is no room for action if you  have erred in the past. No room for repentance. No room for growth and  no “second acts”.

This is Great Britain in 2014. I hope Rufus Hound spent his youth locked in an attic leafing through the Giles annual and drinking weak Robinsons lemon barley. Because when you take the talking stick, it’s the British way to grab it from your hands and beat you with it.

Not even a single gay in the village

Of course, the Mayor of Sochi, Anatoly Pakhomov, won’t have any semantic dilemmas over whether to call his same-sex friends’ weddings “gay” or “equal” because he has no gay friends. This is due to there being no gay people in Sochi. None. Zero.

Mr Pakhomov was adamant about this during John Sweeney’s Panorama interview for the BBC which aired last night. And yes, I’m as surprised as you are by this.  But let us remember that Mr Pakhomov  is a man of considerable power and the Mayor of a city that the Olympic committee felt non-medieval enough to host the Winter Olympics. We must, therefore,  heed his word. “I went to a gay bar last night,” said Sweeney. But Mr Pakhomov was, on this matter, just like so many others, deaf.

React Now

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

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Dom Joly owns a pig. That thinks it's a dog.  

I'll bow out. Let Wilbur, the pig that thinks it's a dog, bring home the bacon

Dom Joly
 

Forget charging by the page - with books, heart matters more than heft

Katy Guest
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'