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


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: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Labour's Jeremy Corbyn arrives to take part in a Labour party leadership final debate, at the Sage in Gateshead, England, Thursday, Sept. 3  

Jeremy Corbyn is here to stay and the Labour Party is never going to look the same again

Andrew Grice
Serena Williams  

As Stella Creasy and Serena Williams know, a woman's achievements are still judged on appearance

Holly Baxter
The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea