3 June 2011

Thinking Paper #12 - Should celebrities be able to tell us what to do? And should we listen?

By Ron Ford-Golightly


To cut a short paper shorter, the answer is "definitely" to both questions. This is a long standing position of ours and one which is central to the work of the IIPBA. Earlier, this week Sting called for the decriminalisation of drugs. I for one hate Sting and everything that he stands for, but his words confirmed for us here at the IIPBA that in order to push through the PBA agenda, politicians need to listen to celebrities on a more frequent basis. In this paper we will briefly explore the latest policy suggestions from the likes of Sting and Kathy Burke and recommend other areas that would benefit from celebrity interference.

Celebrity interference – The Background

Sting’s real name is Gordon (it’s true), and he told David Cameron this week that “Giving young people criminal records for minor drug possession serves little purpose.” Elsewhere, Kathy Burke, star of BBC2 comedy “Gimme-Gimme-Gimme”, called for the “immediate decriminalisation of drug possession”.

From Bob Geldof on international poverty to Joanna Lumley on Gherkins we have seen celebrities shape public policy debate for millennia. As far as the IIPBA is concerned, we need to see more of this. We believe strongly that celebrity endorsement, whether informed or otherwise, would dramatically improve public policy formulation in the following ways:

1. Achieve popular support for policy areas that the general public just wouldn’t care about otherwise;

2. Sufficiently dumb down debate about complex issues to allow for ill thought out and hurried reform instead of pragmatic and considered, but essentially flawed policy responses;

3. Make politics beautiful again, remember Tony Blair, what a lovely smile that lad had;

4. Give something politicians themselves to be interested in. Did you ever see Tony Blair’s face when he met Bono from U2? Like a little boy in a sand pit.

Policy Recommendations

We sent postal questionnaires to 2,300 celebrities asking them for ideas to improve public policy discourse. Three celebrities responded positively and one, who shall be referred to as Lee from Blue, sent us a picture of his penis.

1. Dating girls - Paul McCartney suggested he launch a campaign to warn rich and elderly men from believing that young attractive women (albeit with one leg) are genuinely in love with them.

2. Employment options for teenage girls - Katie Price wrote to us to say that she would happily head up a series of employment programmes for teenage girls with a focus on intercourse with footballers.

3. Olympics tickets - To our surprise, Kat from Eastenders offered to lead a joint review with Alfie Moon from the same programme into how Olympics tickets could have been given to people other than those lucky enough to work in the Department for Culture, Media and Communications.

The IIPBA strongly supports each of these proposals and urges the empire builders and back stabbers in No10 to look a little past their career progression and have a little think about these ideas. If they would like to get in touch, we can provide them with the contact details of the aforementioned celebrities (and the picture of Lee's penis).

Thank you for reading...

^Picture © w_o_n_d_e_r_s_l_u_g used under Creative Commons^

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