I maintain that day-to-day party politics is completely unimportant. Because of that, when the name “Louise Mensch” kept cropping up on twitter I didn’t know anything about her: I gathered that she was an MP, and more or less got it straight in my head that she was a Tory, and that was about it until she hit the headlines this week for resigning to spend more time with her family.
It was only at that point that I discovered she was a successful novelist, writing books under the name “Louise Bagshawe” which I have seen people reading on the train.
Having missed the fuss when she ran for and won the seat of Corby, I was not in a position to make the link to Esther Rantzen, who ran as an independent in my own constituency (and therefore had come to my attention).
I have suspected for a while that media figures are capable of moving into politics very successfully, through the more normal mechanism of joining major parties rather than running as independents. In the long run, the question is not so much whether celebrities will be able to win seats in parliament, as why they would want to.
Had I known what was going on in Corby, I might have said something prophetic…