Posted by Laura
He may have almost made it as a rock star with his band in the 70s, taken tea at the Commons with Noel Gallagher during his down-with-the-kids Cool Britannia phase, and be on ‘Yo’ terms with President Bush, but did Tony Blair ever really have any celeb cred until his latest brush with the showbiz set?
The PM doesn’t have the full backing of his party, but there’s one big name who appears to be undeterred by public opinion and is offering him his full support. Yes, it’s David ‘the Hoff’ Hasselhoff. Baywatch’s bouffant-haired star reportedly offered Mr Blair some rousing words when the two met at the Pride of Britain Awards earlier this week, apparently telling him to “just hang on in there” (see pictures of the event here). They appear to be every inch the odd couple, but these sentiments have certainly stood the Hoff in good stead, who has “hung on in there” with his bordering-on-farcical music and acting career to become almost a cult figure in popular culture. This is a man who has gone from conversing with a car to apparently giving motivational pep talks to a world leader.
But Tony’s not the only one to be snapped in the company of celebrity. Home Secretary John Reid looked happy (or at least displayed a facial contortion resembling happiness) while chatting to Girls Aloud at the same awards event. And only a few weeks ago David Cameron proved the middle classes can still be ‘street’ when he met with the rapper Rhymefest. These incidents certainly got the politicians column inches and went some way to making them appear less staid than usual, but will it earn them valuable points with the voters?
Celebrity and politics are almost inextricably linked in the US. One only has to look at the recent furore over Michael J Fox’s political broadcast on behalf of the Democrats during the lead-up to the mid-terms to see just how seriously the Americans take it. Obviously the vicious nature of the US campaigning (to see just how vicious, read our report) just wouldn’t be cricket over here, we’re far, far too reserved to tolerate any of that horseplay – aren’t we?
We may scoff at the thought of Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor of California, but it wasn’t that long ago the people of Hampstead elected RADA-trained actress Glenda Jackson as their MP. And, prior to his election as Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone had a brief dalliance with the pop world, providing guest vocals on Blur song Ernold Same while he was MP for Brent Cross. He was credited on the track listing as “The Right On Ken Livingstone”. Rock ‘n’ roll indeed.
So should we embrace the way of the Americans and welcome more political forays into the world of showbiz and vice versa? The US is, after all, a nation that was led by a former actor for eight years.
Perhaps the Hoff and Tony actually have more to learn from each other than we think. What role could Mr Hasselhoff play in Tony Blair’s cabinet? Let us know your thoughts.