What do Kim Kardashian and David Cameron have in common?

Don't underestimate celebrity pulling power

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By ELLE Politics Editor, Elle Gellard

 

I'm a political activist and I can name every Kardashian. In age order. An unlikely combination, granted, but both have things in kommon (sorry!). For a start, you'd have a job escaping either of them...

Because politics isn't just about the House of Commons or Westminster. It doesn't only happen on the Today programme or the Six o’clock news.

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It can make the difference between getting a GP appointment before work or having to take the morning off. It affects whether you’re reading this from your desk, or while you should be applying for your fifth job of the day. It determines whether you go home tonight and put your key in the door of a rented flat, or one of your own.

It's everywhere you turn. Just like Kim.

And keeping up with both may have its advantages.

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Because while the result of entertainment and politics merging can mean we end up with Ann Widdecombe on Strictly or, well, Donald Trump... sometimes the gamble can pay off.

Take Caitlyn Jenner. Her speech on stage at the ESPYS awards in July was a moment in American history. You could just tell. It will have changed things for young boys and girls growing up in skin they don’t feel is their own. It challenged prejudices and preconceptions. In 13 minutes it achieved what many politicians work years, decades for.

Sticking with Caitlins, Caitlin Moran’s How To Be A Woman did more to popularise feminism – and the rights women should expect and fight for – than any politician’s speech has managed. With its three simple rules (1. Women are equal to men. 2. Don't be a dick 3. That's all) it made feminism fearless, fun and – yes – fashionable.

Or Angelina Jolie, drafted in last year to help end the scourge of sexual violence in war. She raised the profile of one of the great mass crimes of our time – rape in war zones - beyond levels politicians could only dream of.

All important moments. All politics.

But big change, lasting change, can happen when both worlds – entertainment and political - realise that they are, to coin a phrase, better together. Make Poverty History harnessed the pulling power of A-listers (Bono et al.) along with the political will of governments to successfully increase spending on overseas aid and drop £1b worth of debt from the poorest countries. While Jenner, Moran and Jolie change attitudes, only politicians can change laws.

And you can have the greatest speeches, the most powerful books and the best headlines, but if our daily lives don't change as a result - if we don't feel better off, safer, more equal – it's all just noise.

… At least that's my excuse for flicking between BBC Parliament and E! - and I'm sticking to it.

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