Friday, 18 September 2015

Letter Of The Day: Eltongate

I like Elton John. His songs invoke powerful emotions, and his status as a talented artist and songwriter is not disputed.

He is famously homosexual and clearly passionate about the rights of all us to be able to pick our partners with the freedom we all deserve, and through being heard by many powerful people he has probably influenced more than we realise.

He strives for a life without bigotry and hatred, which is indisputably an admirable quality.

However, surely one has to wonder why musicians, actors and artists are elevated to such powerful positions. And why did Elton John think that Vladimir Putin was actually going to pick up the phone to discuss Russia’s policies with him? Did he honestly believe that he could succeed where Angela Merkel and friends had failed?

Maybe he thought that a quick rendition of Nikita sung down the telephone would melt the ex-KGB man’s heart and that the views of a nation would be changed immediately?

I’d love to damn this optimism as the naive behaviour of yet another pop star diva, but sadly I can see why he tried.

Our celebrities, particularly in the West, seem to have been given a god-like status. In the UK, many of the people we see on television appear to have the friendship of some of this country’s most rich and powerful people.

Jamie Oliver has told us what children should eat in school; Russell Brand and Sting have pushed for new drug laws; and Jeremy Clarkson even managed to get the PM to empathise with him in his time of need. Am I the only one who finds this odd?

A year ago I spent 10 months living in St Petersburg. I accept the claims about racism and homophobia in Russia, neither of which I find attractive or acceptable. However, one must take one’s hat off to a leader who scorns the idea of a pop star telling him how to run his country.

Yes, we’d all like Putin to change, but let’s not be foolish enough to think that he might be influenced by a piano player and singer, no matter how talented or rich he might be.

Steve Davies

West End, Hampshire

The Independent.

Baffling Spectator cartoon.
See also Does Elton John genuinely believe he can change Putin's attitude to gays? The Spectator.

Und 'Hi Elton. Bono and Donald Duck here. Let's talk human rights', Tanya Gold, The Sunday Times.

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