Celebrity and stardom occupy so much of the media and our entertainment. Cinema went through a golden era with the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Their acting talent was remarkable but there was always a certain mystique and star quality about them.
In a more domestic setting, figures such as Bruce Forsythe and Cilla Black were more familiar but they each had a talent and character that took them beyond the mundane and routine.
Popular culture now has too many celebrities. They seemed to be churned out by the broadcasters with barely any discernible quality other than that they fill the airwaves with their scripted lines and fake laughs. As the number of channels have increased so the number of ‘celebs’ has increased to fill them.
It seems that the talent gets spread ever more thinly and the “build ‘em up to knock ‘em down” aspect plays out in our tabloids. It can be a little wearing and certainly uninspiring when we want something special.
I sometimes fear that people feel the same way about our current crop of politicians. There is the sense of ‘where are the great statesmen’ rather than the current figures who are just not recognised in the same way.
Perhaps Boris Johnson marks an evolved form of politician that works in the era of ‘celebs’ rather than stars. Mr Johnson would not be seen as an archetypal politician with star quality in the way that perhaps Harold Wilson or Margaret Thatcher would.
Whilst it is not going so far back in history, we have recently seen the resurrection of two more substantial politicians and former prime ministers who are returning to the centre ground of political life.
Tony Blair has begun to dominate the Labour Party again and his emissary, Peter Mandelson, was scheming at their conference in October. They are clearly pulling the strings which is why Sir Keir Starmer has shifted in his politics so dramatically.
In a very different way, David Cameron has been brought back to serve as Foreign Secretary on behalf of the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak. There is no suggestion that Cameron is going to do anything other than be our ambassador on the world stage and will have the ability to meet presidents and prime ministers as an equal and on behalf of Britain.
Not having constituency responsibilities will mean that our new Foreign Secretary can tour the world without the constraints that an MP would have.
By way of contrast with celebrity and political culture, it is fair to say that sporting achievement has just got better decade after decade.
The training, sports science and development of our athletes has never been better. This is why I want to send my congratulations and best wishes to Atherton’s Tom Aspinall for becoming the UFC World Heavyweight Champion in Madison Square Garden. We can all be inspired by his hard work and dedication.
This article was originally published in the Wigan Observer on 25th November: https://www.wigantoday.net/news/opinion/columnists/chris-green-mp-a-wor…