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

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

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A Gold Ferrari sits outside Chanel on Sloane Street  

Sunday Times Rich List: We are no longer in thrall to very rich people

Terence Blacker
David Cameron was openly emotional at the prospect of Scotland leaving the union before the referendum  

General election 2015: Remember when David Cameron almost cried over Scotland because he loved it so much?

Matthew Norman
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence