Celebrity Lobbying: Fry and Cameron

Celebrities and politicians can be witless fellows, no matter how entertaining they might be. Politicians have time to talk to celebrity actors who are lobbying for their own pet projects, but no time to talk to serious folk who wish to talk about matters in which they (the serious folk) have no financial advantage or behavioural interest.

Recently, in a much publicised  meeting at a public house the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Mr Cameron, found time to meet a popular actor Stephen Fry. It seems that Mr Fry wanted to bend the Prime Minister’s ear to persuade him to boycott an athletics’ event in Russia because Mr Fry found Russia’s laws and policies on gay rights and related matters unacceptable.

It seems that Mr Fry thinks that the United Kingdom should boycott the forthcoming winter Olympics in Russia because Russia has enacted severe laws concerning homosexuals. The UK is unlikely to win any medals in Russia so any boycott would be symbolic. A boycott would not change Russia’s laws or customs on gays.

Mr Fry is not, as far as I am aware, a noted thinker. He has views about gay rights in common with most gay people. He is someone you uses his celebrity to enrich himself and he is quite entitled to do that, and most celebrities do enrich themselves because large numbers of people find them fascinating or interesting or entertaining. The ability of celebrities to enrich themselves because they are celebrities is one of the most depressing features of civilisation.

I expect that Mr Fry holds sincere beliefs in this matter but I am at a loss to understand why the Prime Minister should spend any time with Mr Fry discussing it. The Prime Minister would not meet me in a public house if I asked him so that I could bend his ear about any topic that I felt important. He would not meet any of my friends or acquaintances because unlike Mr Fry we are not famous enough to warrant a meeting with the Prime Minister. It seems that you have to be famous to speak to the Prime Minister. Being sincere or clever or having an important message does not matter at all. You have to be a celebrity to discuss a topic with the Prime Minister over a pint of beer.

The meeting was supposedly secret, but of course, it was immediately leaked all over the media. That is the way these things are done. The meeting was at no ordinary pub; the pub is owned by celebrities who are friends of Mr Fry, thus ensuring the pub a reasonable amount of free publicity. Mr Fry is no stranger to using his celebrity to try and sell a whole range of products, from cars to clothes from beer to himself.

Being famous is an easy route to wealth. Mr Fry has taken that route. Had he spurned advertising and self publicity he might have had some time to think about the issues of gay rights, instead of reacting to them instinctively. Instincts abound but must be refined by thought, otherwise they are mere prejudices. I cannot imagine that Mr Fry was able to tell Mr Cameron fact or idea that Mr Cameron did not know, or that Mr Cameron had not previously encountered.

I have always found Stephen Fry rather annoying, when seeing him on television or hearing him on the radio. Perhaps MR Cameron does not find MR Fry annoying, but rather entertaining and was in need of some positive publicity that would flow from meeting Mr Fry. This seems to be how these things work; one hand washes the other.

The moral of the story is, if you want to be able to have a pint of beer with the Prime Minister o discuss some matter that concerns you, become a celebrity.


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