Lucy Mannion

Naked Politics Blogger

Donald Trump isn’t the first luminary to get down and dirty in the rodeo that is American politics.  Ever since Ronald Reagan made the transition from the silver screen to state service (firstly as the Governor of California in the 70s), the land of opportunity has generally welcomed the serious evolution of entertainment stars in to the political arena.  The epitome of this has to be Arnie (who also served as Governor of the golden state), though I suppose winning an election was nothing for him after being crowned Mr Universe at age 20.  Of course he’s dipped out of the legislative jungle for now, though my feeling is that he’ll be back!

The country of deep fried butter has also provided electoral success for pro wrestler ‘The Body’ aka Jesse Ventura as Governor of Minnesota, Clint Eastwood as Mayor of Carmel and the so called Sultan of Salaciousness himself, Jerry Springer who was the Mayor of Cincinnati.  So why have British stars fared so appallingly when they try to crack the political nut?  Over the years numerous home grown personalities have tried and failed at throwing their glittery hats in to the democratic ring, so let’s have a look at who’s had a go!

He of the maracas, also known as Bez from the Happy Monday’s (actually Mark Berry..) came sixth in the Salford and Eccles parliamentary election in 2015 standing for his We are the Reality Party, though he did beat the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate.  Bez stood on an anti-fracking platform but unfortunately for him it seems all the electorate wanted was for him to frack off.

Former Coronation Street hunk and fledgling pop star Adam Rickitt didn’t even manage to get as far as Bez.  He was approved as a prospective parliamentary candidate for the Conservatives but never made it to the candidate stage (though he should have purely based on his pop banger I Breathe Again!)  He should have done what crafty old Bez did and fashioned his own party, it’s much easier to make sure you get a stab at polling day then.

Even animated Bratz doll, Katie Price did better than the Rickitt, standing as an independent candidate in the 2001 general election for the Stretford and Urmston constituency, with her manifesto promising free plastic surgery for all.  Jordan did come in last but back in the early 2000s people didn’t really refer to her as Katie Price, which would have been the name on the ballot.  Maybe if it had said Jordan things might have turned out differently, although at the time she did proclaim that ‘it will take a big swing to win the seat but there’s no bigger swinger than me.’

Former boxer Terry Marsh managed even less votes than the former Mrs Andre receiving just 125 in the 2010 general election for the South Basildon and East Thurrock seat.  He however had the innovative idea of officially changing his name to ‘None Of The Above X’ so this could appear on the ballot paper, as our electoral laws prohibit parties from calling themselves this.  Though Terry was undefeated world champion in the light welterweight division he was certainly knocked out of politics!

TV presenter and journalist Esther Rantzen also failed to dazzle at the polls, despite standing on an anti-sleaze agenda, getting less than 5% of the vote in the race for Luton South.  Meaning she didn’t get back the monetary deposit you put down to stand for election.  The deposit only gets refunded if you secure a certain percent of the vote, the idea being to deter no hopers, clearly it’s not working!

Even perennially popular Pub Landlord, Al Murray couldn’t get his bum on the back benches, standing against charismatic toad, Nigel Farage, in South Thanet at the last election.  Though at least he got more votes than the satirical party, the Al-Zebabist Nation of Ooog.  It’s probably worth noting that Al may have not actually been dead serious about pursuing politics professionally with his suggestion about reducing the price of a pint to 1p.

So it seems that trying to get elected in the UK once you already have a public profile is a nonstarter.  Though perhaps not astounding that none of these individuals managed to set the democratic process alight, I find it curious that they fared quite so shoddily.  Their bash at breaking into show business for ugly people (as politics is somewhat insultingly known) failed, yet in the states it seems that fame tends to help rather than hinder.

Hey, maybe it’s a positive thing? Perhaps it shows that British voters still deem conventional dreary politicians the best way to go.  We know in our hearts that elections should be boring and celebrities should just stick to what they do best, like posing in unnatural manners on beaches and putting tiny dogs in diamante bags.

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Last Update: April 28, 2018