Hearing why Eddie’s happy to Labour hard for support

[from thisisbristol.co.uk]

HE is used to having comedy audiences eating out of his hand but Eddie Izzard had a trickier crowd to deal with when he visited Keynsham.

The transvestite comedian, actor and long-distance runner is the second celebrity campaigner to join the bid to help Labour junior minister Dan Norris hold on to his highly marginal seat.

For 90 minutes at the Trout Tavern on Temple Street yesterday, he regaled a packed pub garden with the reasons why they should vote for North East Somerset candidate Dan Norris – and announced his own political aspirations.

The 48-year-old star will be wowing Canadians on stage in Toronto come Friday night, but yesterday he was on his 22nd stop out of 25 across the country to muster votes for Labour in the General Election.

“I was in Gloucester this morning…” said the indefatigable performer, before reeling off every town and city he has graced wearing a rosette before then.

“The sun is shining in Keynsham and that’s because of the Labour Party.

“As a street performer I’m used to talking to people a lot and I want to point out that Britain is not broken, like the Tories will tell you. It’s brilliant. And that’s the Britain I believe in.”

Izzard’s appearance was the second from a household name to back Mr Norris, a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Legendary Queen guitarist Brian May joined Mr Norris last week to back his stance against fox hunting.

Izzard spent an hour fielding questions on child tax credits, what Labour has done for pensioners and the most inspirational person in his life alongside Mr Norris, who has represented the Wansdyke constituency – now redrawn and renamed North East Somerset – for the last 13 years.

Karen Perry, 51, from Winterbourne, was impressed with his impromptu performance.

She said: “It is great for a comedy actor to have a serious side. He put things across in layman’s terms and probably helped Dan Norris reach a few more people today.”

Izzard saved the photos and the press quotes until after the Q&A, marginally longer than Tory warhorse Ken Clark did on Monday, but he was soon swept away off to his next stop, Bournemouth.

Before he went he was quick to answer scepticism over celebrities being put up to support candidates.

“I’m not wheeled out here,” he said. “I’m self-propelled. I volunteered for this. Judge the celebrities on what they’ve done with their lives and if you like it, listen. If you don’t like it, don’t listen.

“The public are intelligent enough that if they don’t agree with what I say then they won’t listen.”

And that’s where Izzard is a valuable commodity after capturing the nation’s imagination running 43 marathons in 51 days around the UK, raising money for Sport Relief.

And his boundless enthusiasm is bound for politics – but not for a decade.

He said: “My own aspirations are for 10 years’ time. I’ve worked my backside off to get my career going so I’m not going to drop it. It would need to go into deep hibernation if I stand (as an MP).”

Pub landlord Jim McCarthy told the Post: “I’m just waiting for Bruce Springsteen to come here now.

“Could do with a bit of that here. They bring out the celebrities in America to support politicians all the time, so why not here?”

Written by Momo in: Politics & Causes |

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