Eddie Izzard plans his own race for political power

[from Walesonline.co.uk]

MARATHON-RUNNING comedian Eddie Izzard threw himself into the election race in Wales yesterday as the campaign enters its final laps.

Sporting a red Labour rosette, he made no secret of his own ambition to stride into the electoral arena.

He urged cheering students at the University of Glamorgan’s city centre Atrium building to use their vote and insisted he was committed to the Labour cause.

The comedian and actor, who lived for two years in Skewen, near Neath, said: “I am not being wheeled out here. I am self-wheeling. I am self-propelled. I volunteered for this because I am standing for election in 10 years time.”

Last year Mr Izzard established a reputation for tenacity and raised more than £1m for the charity Sport Relief by running 43 marathons in 51 days.

Speaking in the student- friendly Vulcan pub opposite the university building, he insisted he was serious about taking on the challenge of winning office.

He said: “I’m about 99.9% sure I’m going to run. I’ve got to do an election in my life – it could be MP, MEP or Mayor of London. I’ve got the next 10 years to work out sound policies, talk to experts around the world, do all that stuff that you need to do.”

The 48-year-old hopes that criss-crossing the country on his many marathons may have improved his chances of selection by a constituency party. “Having run around the United Kingdom I think I could stand anywhere.”

Mr Izzard sees human history as a struggle between progressives and conservatives. He said: “Around England, all these huge landowners have put up ‘Vote Conservative’ all over their land and you think ‘Well, yeah, vote Conservative and it will be back to the feudal system.’”

He is upbeat about devolution continuing and the Assembly gaining new powers.

“Having your own parliament, I think that’s cool,” he said. “Scotland’s got one. I’m very happy for Wales to do that but still we can all be working together and having no borders.”

A Welsh Conservative spokesman said: “We admire Eddie Izzard’s recent achievement in running 43 marathons in 51 days. But we’re sure even he’ll admit getting Labour re-elected is a challenge too far.”

Steven Owen, a 22-year-old film student at the University of Glamorgan, said: “I haven’t voted before but having Eddie come here will spread a lot of interest and I will definitely consider using my vote.”

Former First Minister and Cardiff West Labour AM Rhodri Morgan is a fan of Mr Izzard.

He said: “He’s a brilliant stand-up and his act has always got two or three levels to it. There is always a political level, because he’s an obsessive collector of facts of all kinds.”

Mr Morgan said winning support among students was crucial in Cardiff Central, which Lib Dem Jenny Willott took from Labour in 2005 by 5,593 votes.

Written by Momo in: Politics & Causes |

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