The government is teaming up with the celebrity world to promote its social and business policies by drafting in the help of celebrity speakers to lend their support to parliament initiatives. Whilst it may be argued that the worlds of politics and celebrity have merged into an inseparable entity over recent years, with politicians carrying out their lives in the public eye just as much as the C-listers, the public still view MPs and their favourite singer in totally separate spheres.
Unfortunately, politicians do not have the most trusted reputation and party politics have come to dominate national policies. This has led to a decline in public opinion of MPs and as such, we are much more likely to take notice of our favourite celebrities rather than a relatively unknown politician from a constituency far away from us.
When a celebrity speaks of their support for a particular cause or policy, we are more inclined to think about it and form an opinion on it. Research has shown that if someone we admire or look up to supports something, our views will tend to correlate with their own public views.
This is the explanation behind the recent creation of government tsars. Alan Sugar, best known for his television show The Apprentice, has been made Enterprise Tsar and given the title of Baron of Clapton. Ex-Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Philips has been made Dance Tsar. Whilst Arlene’s position might be viewed sceptically as an assurance that ladies of a certain age are still valued by society and in government, Sugar’s appointment has had some positive results in the early stages.
Promotion of the Apprentice scheme which aimed to get more young people employed and building a skilled career for themselves has seen hundreds of appointments across the country. Many of the new apprentices have said their knowledge of the scheme was due to Sir Alan’s presence on promotional material and on the TV adverts.
Sceptics would see the new tsar positions as a ploy to mask the poorly planned and executed policies of the government. However, if dancing will get more children and adults fitter, and Sir Alan encourages more people to be successful in business, surely the policies have been a success.
Celebrity speakers not only assist the government in getting their policies into the public’s eye, they are also able to draw international attention to certain issues. Bob Geldof, Angelina Jolie and Bono are among some of the most active celebrities that work for human rights, international aid and more government help for the poorest countries and people. They have sparked mass interest in recent political conferences like the G8 which saw national protests on a scale unseen in recent years.
If celebrities have the power to make the public sit up and take notice, voice their opinion and gain a better understanding of politics, surely the motives behind the government’s use of them are irrelevant. With more understanding of the political system and the world around us, we can make sounder judgments anyway.