Political advantages to celebrity backing?


In the run up to the June 10th elections the political parties have been wheeling out an army of celebrity supporters.

Launching their campaign to encourage the use of the postal vote, the Labour Party enlisted the support of Star Trek captain Patrick Stewart and ex Eastender Ross Kemp.

Labour are perhaps best known for their celebrity endorsements following their flirtation with "Cool Britannia".

Whilst in Opposition Mr Blair met leading figures in Brit Pop such as Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher and Blur vocalist Damon Albarn.

The relationship though soon soured, with Damon Albarn becoming one of the most vocal opponents to the war in Iraq.

Such high profile celebrities are notable by their absence in these elections.

At touch of glamour though has been provided by Hollywood actress Joan Collins who has pledged her support to the United Kingdom Independent Party (UKIP).

UKIP also boasts the former BBC presenter Robert Kilroy Silk as a candidate.

The Conservatives number Marco-Pierre White, Brian Ferry and Eddie Jordan among their supporters.

A Conservative spokesman told Politics.co.uk today that: "A lot of people feel let down by Labour and a lot of celebrities feel the same way"

He said that celebrity supporters do not affect the way people vote, but make them more inclined to find out about politics.

The Greens have Sixties supermodel Twiggy who is backing their policies on animal rights, and Body Shop founder Anita Roddick.

By far the longest running celebrity endorsement though is Sean Connery's backing of the Scottish National Party (SNP).

An SNP spokesman said: "Sean Connery is the world's most famous Scot ... He's a person whose vision for Scotland matches the vision we've got as a whole."

Political parties hope that celebrity affiliations will boast their profile, particularly among those largely uninterested in politics.

The jury is still out on whether this tactic is successful.