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: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: When is a baroness not a baroness? Titles still cause confusion

Guy Keleny
 

CPAC 2015: What I learnt from the US — and what the US could learn from Ukip

Nigel Farage
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?