Celebrity to save Brown government
In the midst of the reshuffle, one story seems to have been somewhat skipped over, perhaps because it didn’t have the bitch-factor that most of cabinet announcements provided. To save his political backside, Brown has decided to bring in a reality TV show celebrity to prop his otherwise-screwed government: Sir Alan Sugar.
Quite aside from the truth about Alan Sugar’s inability to market his business properly, and questions about whether we really need an enterprise tsar to get us out of the current collection of problems, Alan Sugar’s appointment shows us something about this current government that we probably already knew; they’re getting very very desperate.
For those who don’t know, the reason lots of geeks point at Alan Sugar and laugh is that he was once in a position to become the British equivalent of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, what with the Amstrad computer and all that, but kind of screwed up. Add to this the fact that he has managed more hours of TV appearance than almost any other business figure in Britain and yet most non-geeks still have no idea what Amstrad is or does. Its all a bit surreal having someone with that little marketing prowess, who despite his riches, actually failed his open-goal chance at becoming mega-mega-rich, as the person to promote the country’s entrepreneurial spirit.
But far beyond this, we have a very worrying situation. An Asian state had to fire its Prime Minister because he was still working as a TV chef recently, and for good reason, its not the kind of relationship a political leader should have and points to corruption.
And to add to this worry, the Tories seem far more interested in attacking this state of affairs because of Sir Alan possibly breaking BBC rules than because it leads us into dangerous celebrity-politics cross-over areas. One wonders who they might be planning on recruiting in the next government? Perhaps some of the Dragons Den vulture capitalists?
Tied to this is the tendency to make politics more like reality TV, which, in the case of shows like Big Brother, offer viewers democracy-lite through that time-honoured method known as one-person-one-phone-bill voting. In this case, it wasn’t so much telephone voting, as telly cooption. Brown clearly liked that guy off the TV and decided to call him up with an offer of a job. That Brown can simply shove him a peerage to get him into position is a rather damning inditement of British democracy to start with.
I do wonder if anyone else thinks that this is celebrity culture gone a lot too far?