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Tim Montgomerie: "What should I think about celebrity activism?"

I'm a witness on the Moral Maze tonight for a discussion of...

"The days of the tame celebrity being wheeled out by political parties or charities to show their face at the launch of their latest campaign - and keep their mouth firmly shut - have long gone. The rise of social networking and the way celebrity culture has spread to all parts of our society mean that some celebrities, if they choose to wield it, have genuine power. This is the age of the Celebrity Activist. Hugh Grant turning the tables on journalists and arming himself with a hidden microphone to investigate phone hacking for the New Statesman may be one of the unlikelier and entertaining stories in the field, but there's a lot to choose from. Labour politicians won't forget Joanna Lumley's lobbying for the Ghurkhas; Patrick Stewart regularly speaks in favour of assisted dying and celebs are all over the alternative vote referendum. If you think this all seems to be overstating things, consider this: Stephen Fry's tweets are followed by 2.45 million people, that's more than the printed copies of the Times, the Telegraph, the Financial Times, the Guardian and the Independent combined. Do people like Stephen Fry have a moral duty to use the power of their status to comment and campaign on issues - to motivate and get people engaged in a way traditional politicians can't? Does such power foster and encourage a sense of social conscience in us all, or have we sacrificed content on the altar of celebrity and allowed a few to use it promote their particular personal interests, career and self-worth? Is celebrity activism good for our democratic process?"

What should I say?


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