18 August, 2013

However, Cameron yields

What do you think about Russia? I think most people don't much like the idea. Many of us have grown up with warnings about what to do if they showered some of their many missiles on us. I don't like Putin, who seems a cross between a third world dictator and a Tsar, with enormous powers to wipe out opposition. And I didn't like the communism and don't like the aftermath. There's plenty more.

What the celebrity Stephen Fry (once described to me as 'a stupid person's view of what an intellectual is like') dislikes about Russia is the way they treat homosexuals, although it doesn't seem as bad as some Muslim countries that he never complains about. He wants us not to be allowed to enter the winter Olympics in Russia.

There's nothing wrong with this view or this prioritisation, except that Mr Fry is a celebrity and people, unaccountably, think his views important. For myself, I am not interested in Mr Fry's opinions, be they on Accounting standards, football or agriculture.

But David Cameron agreed to meet Mr Fry to discuss this, in a pub in the East End of London. This is naivety in the extreme. If I wanted to meet Mr Cameron in a pub, would he? Or you? Is his criterion, therefore, for meeting people to hear their views whether they are a celebrity? Is this the way we want government managed?

Cameron, or some very junior aide, should have told Fry that you don't get to exert personal influence on the Prime Minister just because you have been on the telly.

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