Much titteration because the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are featured in Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential list for 2021, but why?
It was only a matter of time before the couple were honoured in these most spurious of non-awards — the global equivalent of a Milk Monitor badge or a Good Attendance certificate.
Why, even the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made the list back in 2011 (actually, Kate has been on it three times), along with such fellow visionaries and global motivators as former Prime Minister David Cameron, Bruno Mars, Sting and Colin Firth.
Yet the question of who does and who does not influence us, especially among the celebrity brigade, is an interesting one.
Today, social media gives them a reach and power to use and disabuse their fame as inclined; to plunge into politics and public health matters, to meddle and muddle the waters in ways that are often unhelpful.
Hypocrisy: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez makes a statement as she attends the 2021 Met Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on Monday in New York
Particularly as so many of them are blinkered, hand-wringing Lefties determined to show the public why they are wrong, while they themselves are right.
For example. Just before winning his Most Influential award, Colin Firth announced his support for the Liberal Democrats — this was during the 2010 general election. I sincerely hope no one back then was influenced by his avowed stance, as the actor withdrew his Lib Dem support a few months later, following their U-turn on tuition fees.
What a complete waste of time for all concerned, but especially for Firth’s politically vacillating fans, potentially looking for a sign from their hero. Were there some of them, so thrilled by his turn as Harry the banker in Mamma Mia!, that they decided to vote Liberal Democrat, too?
This is the terrible question, the great unknowable of the modern age — but surely such blind faith is what stars hope lies behind any kind of declaration or endorsement on their part? Think like me.
Perhaps Time magazine itself was influenced by the fact that Firth had just won an Oscar for his role in The King’s Speech.
‘I’ve got the feeling my career has just peaked,’ he famously joked as he accepted the award, although sadly it turned out to be all too true. Ahead of him lay the sequel Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, plus the third Bridget Jones film — and a complete silence on the political front, thank heavens.
Of course, I adore Colin, but the only thing he has ever influenced me to do is reconsider the allure of a damp Regency shirt.
Meanwhile, there has been uproar over rapper Nicki Minaj telling her 22 million Twitter fans that her Trinidadian cousin’s friend’s testicles ballooned after he had the Covid vaccine.
The question of who does and who does not influence us, especially among the celebrity brigade, is an interesting one, writes Jan Moir (pictured above)
She doesn’t say if she was there at the time and witnessed this sight with her own eyes, but surely that might be the explanation? With her terrifying cleavage, claw manicures and fierce personality, Nicki might well make a great number of young men’s testicles swell in fear. Yet what is behind her harmful stance on this life-saving matter? Sheer ignorance and the misbegotten desire to influence millions into not having the jab, just like her?
The vaccine hesitancy among ethnic minority groups makes her position seem even more irresponsible, yet despite all expert evidence to the contrary, Nicki is the kind of woman who still thinks she knows best. And she does not discourage her followers from concluding that anyone who disagrees with her is racist, misogynist or worse.
Chris Whitty, White House chief medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci and Trinidad’s health minister and various others have all challenged her views, but she will not budge and is even having a ferocious online row with Piers Morgan.
This is unfortunate, as it forces many bystanders to think about Piers’s own testicles, and whether they are shrinking in horror or distending like furious timpani at Nicki’s impertinence, particularly as she has called him a ‘stupid piece of s***’ on Twitter. Which sums up the intellectual rigour of her argument.
Of course, Nicki Minaj has been on the Time Most Influential list, too. She was there in 2016, along with Barack Obama, Donald Trump and the supermodel Karlie Kloss.
Meanwhile, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, this week’s other great influencer exhibitionist, made the list in 2019. On Monday night the Democrat politician saw no hypocrisy in turning up to the £21,000-a-head Met Ball in a couture gown that had ‘Tax the Rich’ emblazoned on the back. But where else would you wear such a thing? It just wouldn’t have the same impact at your Auntie Betty’s party, would it?
My point is that if you hang around long enough, in a silly dress or otherwise, you’ll get onto Time’s Most Influential list. And considering the number of dopes who make the cut, there seems to be an unhappy conflation between fleeting popularity and actual, enduring influence.
Much titteration because the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are featured in Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential list for 2021, but why?, asks Jan Moir
Even Bart Simpson got on it one year and, speaking of misunderstood sons, we need to talk about this year’s prize pick, Prince Harry. Don’t you just love his nerve?
Last week he made a virtual appearance at the GQ awards and said he was worried about families ‘being overwhelmed by masses of misinformation across news media and social media’ about the vaccine.
Yet here he is, pictured on the Time magazine cover with a mass of misinformation glued to the top of his head. What was that stuff, clearly designed to mislead the public about the abundance of his hair?
A computer-generated pelt of pumpkin-coloured turf — or something tufty harvested from the nether regions of an unlucky squirrel gambolling in the grounds of the Sussexes’ Montecito mansion?
Search me. However, if you are thinking this column has been all balls, then for once you are right.
Middletons’ matches are made in heaven
Are the Middletons the luckiest family ever? Blessed with good looks, sunny dispositions and charm, they have always seemed the happiest of units.
They started a small kitchen-table business dealing in party accessories that went on to make them millions, so they can add success to their good fortune. And above all this, as Jane Austen might say, they seem to be most fortunate in matrimonial matters.
Daughter One (Catherine) marries a future king. Daughter Two (Pippa) marries a multi-millionaire whose parents coincidentally own a highly desirable hotel on St Barts, the Middletons’ favourite holiday island. Divine!
Alizee Thevenet and James Middleton are pictured attending the Bvlgari Magnifica Gala dinner at Spencer House on June 24 this year in London
Meanwhile, only son and youngest child (James) marries a rich and beautiful financial analyst called Alizée Thevenet and has his wedding reception at the Chateau Leoube in the South of France. Hello rosé nirvana!
James and Alizee seem utterly perfect for each other, in the way that some couples just do.
In her novel Mansfield Park, Austen calls marriage ‘a manoeuvring business’. But how marvellous if you can manoeuvre yourself into true love and some smashing good luck at the same time.
Well done, everyone.
Oh dear. Some of my fellow Scottish country folk are furious that all 12 contestants in the new Great British Bake Off series are English.
The fact that last year’s winner, Edinburgh student Peter Sawkins, was Scottish does not appease.
‘You might think, given that there are a dozen people competing, even just the law of chance would mean at least one of the bakers would come from Scotland or Wales,’ fumed The National, the SNP-supporting Scottish newspaper. ‘But no. Keeping pace with the attitude of the UK Parliament, those two nations have been entirely snubbed in favour of England.’
If there were a Scottish Bake Off, no one would have to explain what a fly cemetery is to Paul Hollywood, or be embarrassed about our national shame, the macaroni pie
Keep your kilt on, pals! Don’t get your clooties in a stooshie. After all, we’re talking about burning bannocks here, not Bannockburn.
My suggestion for peace? Perhaps there should be a Scottish Bake Off to show off the glories of our traditional Scottish teatime. Why not? Obviously empire biscuits would be forbidden and millionaire’s shortbread needs rebranding, but there is so much more to tempt — fern cakes, tablet, paradise slices, not to mention onion bridies and the brutal pleasures of the mince round.
If there were a Scottish Bake Off, no one would have to explain what a fly cemetery is to Paul Hollywood, or be embarrassed about our national shame, the macaroni pie.
In the meantime, the Sassenach version begins on Channel 4 next Tuesday at 8pm. Ready, steady, rage.
‘In a world where everyone has an opinion about people they don’t know, the Duke and Duchess have compassion for the people they don’t know,’ reads the gushing citation to the couple’s Most Influential award.
Shame they don’t seem to have much compassion for those they do know. Particularly their respective fathers, the Prince of Wales and Thomas Markle.
Begum to help us fight terror? It’s a no from me
Sometimes it is hard to join in the jubilation for our mighty, axe-wielding leader.
Yes, super-great that Boris has finally reshuffled his cabinet of dunces and jettisoned Dominic Raab and Gavin Williamson. Yet many of us are still suffused with deep gloom that they were ever there in the first place.
How can men like them — so obviously lacking in polish, strategy, vision, humanity, emotional intelligence, culture and common sense — rise to such high office?
Yes, super-great that Boris (pictured at 10 Downing Street on Thursday) has finally reshuffled his cabinet of dunces and jettisoned Dominic Raab and Gavin Williamson. Yet many of us are still suffused with deep gloom that they were ever there in the first place
Although there are always a few shining stars, the general calibre of today’s politicians is depressingly low.
And not just at Westminster, either. From Biden to Trudeau, Macron to Sturgeon, and Lukashenko to Putin there is little to cheer and much to fear.
Still, did Boris miss a trick in the cabinet reshuffle?
Surely there is a place in his top team for Shamima Begum as the new Minister for Security and Counter-Terrorism? ‘I think I could very much help you in your fight against terrorism because you clearly don’t know what you’re doing,’ she said in an address to the Prime Minister.
Speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, she added that the British public should see her ‘as an asset rather than a threat to them.’
Thanks for the tip!
Miss Begum wants to return to the UK, but seriously, how can that ever happen?
Speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain (pictured above), Shamima Begum added that the British public should see her ‘as an asset rather than a threat to them.’
We all make mistakes in our teens, but few of us take it to the extreme of travelling across continents to join a death cult. And then to stay there and assist ISIS fighters to prepare for their terrible deeds.
It may well be that Shamima Begum’s biggest crime is one of stupidity rather a thirst for blood and warmongering. But the problem is that her return to the UK would set a terrible legal precedent, one which could haunt us in the future.
So I’m afraid it’s a no from me.
Sports Direct, Saga and We Buy Any Car have been fined a total of £495,000 after sending 354 million unsolicited marketing texts and emails in the UK — most people received five each.
But will the fines make them stop? It still seems a paltry punishment, leaving them free to carry on regardless. Should the public be tortured with spam text and nuisance calls in this way? Or besieged by Phillip Schofield advertising for them.
‘He is our spirit animal,’ say We Buy Any Car.
Well, perhaps now Phillip will weasel off and cease to be associated with such national pests. Or perhaps not.