Jagger's Cameron snub: why politics and showbiz don't mix

Jan 26, 2012

Mick Jagger might know a thing or two about money, but celebrity endorsements are always a bad idea

ROLLING STONE Mick Jagger has backed out of an event to promote Britain at the Davos economic summit after complaining he was being used as a "political football". The 68-year-old rock star had been due to appear at an event hosted by David Cameron, but bowed out after concerns his political allegiances might be misinterpreted. Some commentators think Sir Mick might have been just the man to perform at an economics forum, while others wonder if politics and show business is ever a good mix.

Jagger not one of the Bullingdon boys

So, it seems Jagger was irritated to hear Tories were high-fiving each other for securing a publicity coup, says John Walsh in The Independent. Or was it the prospect of sitting between Boris Johnson and David Cameron, "as if to suggest an equivalence between the former Street Fighting Man and the rascally Bullingdon Clubbers"? Sorry Dave and Boris, "You can't always get what you want".

What? Mick's not a Conservative?

The news will be a political and musical blow to Cameron, says the gossip blog Minute 15. He has already been banned from liking the Smiths by the band's guitarist, Johnny Marr.

The prime minister may be forgiven for thinking Mick was a Conservative, adds Minute 15, given that so many of the UK's wealthy musical icons are now establishment stooges and/or landed gentry. Eric Clapton, Bryan Ferry, Roger Taylor of Queen, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd and Roger Daltrey of The Who have all played fundraising concerts for the rural wing of the Conservative party, the pro-foxhunting Countryside Alliance. "Hope I die before I get old indeed."

Mick and money are a good match

Message to David Cameron: Sir Mick Jagger is many things – brilliant musician, incomparable performer, genius businessman, raging Lothario – but he is nobody's "football", blogs Kim Hughes for In Music. Jagger says that he initially accepted the invitation because he has always been interested in economics. "Mmm. Jagger might well have added: ‘Especially as the Stones are the 96th largest economic unit in the world, just ahead of Slovenia but trailing slightly behind Norway.'"

Let's not forget that Mick Jagger did at one point study at the London School of Economics, blogs Tom Foster for CNN. "Peer into his back catalogue and the signs have always been there". The B-side of the Stones' first ever EP was a song called Money with lyrics such as: "Your love gave me such a thrill/But your love won't pay the bills/I want money".

Politics and pop don't mix

He of the big lips and geriatric snake-hips was pouting even more than normal this week, says Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail. "This sorry little episode illustrates something that is too seldom grasped by politicians and by showbusiness: the two worlds do not mix". Occasionally they can help each other, "but on the whole it ends with one side or the other feeling bruised and used".

Celebrity endorsements have been backfiring since the Sixties, when the then Leader of the Opposition, Harold Wilson, "sucked up to The Beatles in the most appalling way", adds Letts. In a sense, "politicians and showbiz luvvies deserve each other", but the people "worst served by this unseemly collaboration are the voters".

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