Brian May might not be of the House of Windsor, but the Queen guitarist is certainly rock royalty, and his agent yesterday announced that the 67-year-old is considering standing as an MP in the 2015 General Election. Coming on the heels of comedian Al Murray’s decision to stand against Nigel Farage in Thanet South (albeit in his guise as the Pub Landlord), it seems like 2015 may follow in Britain’s fine tradition of celebrity candidates.
However, whereas Murray’s campaign is – I’m sure the guv’nor himself would admit – a bit of a joke, May’s political credentials are a touch more serious. The CBE he was awarded in 2005 was a decoration both for his services to music and his charity work; for May, as well as penning hits such as ‘We Will Rock You’ and ‘The Show Must Go On’ and attaining a Ph.D. in astrophysics, has also devoted much energy to campaigning, principally on behalf of wildlife.
He – along with actor and fellow Brian, Brian Blessed – led the Team Badger (with the unfortunate acronym TB) campaign against the proposed badger cull in 2013. May also heads the organisation ‘Save Me’, dedicated to protecting animal rights, particularly with regards to fox hunting and badger culling.
His campaigning, however, has since expanded from the sphere of animal welfare: the Common Decency initiative, founded by May just last month, focuses on reform to Parliament and our democratic system, intending to root out corruption from Parliament and establish a new system whereby MPs vote according to their conscience, not strict party discipline. It is under the banner of Common Decency that May’s proposed Parliamentary bid – if it materialises – will be fought.
Brian May’s announcement is more, then, than just another celebrity poking their nose into politics for an extra five minutes in the limelight. The Common Decency initiative is aimed at one of the greatest problems with modern British democracy – the fact that MPs simply do not represent the people, leaving us effectively powerless. The fact that May – a self-confessed habitual Tory voter – has decided to throw his weight behind this important issue shows just how far the traditional parties have failed the electorate.
If he does choose to stand at the General Election, there will no doubt be people lining up to vote for him. I, for one, hope that he does, and brings a little new life and new energy into our stifled political system.
Long live the Queen!
This article is cross-posted with the author’s blog, Cynical Optimist