I wonder what Esther Rantzen is up to these days? The celeb-turned-expenses-buster was due to stand as an MP against Margaret Moran in Luton, but since Ms Moran decided to cheat the electorate of their right to boot her out by standing down, a lot of people wonder what the point of Rantzen's candidature is. Maybe she won't end up standing at all, but one thing she has done is make it more likely that MPs from all parties can be effectively challenged even if they have the support of their local parties and in safe seats.
Take this example. The ultra-safe Labour seat of Liverpool Wavertree has selected the 28 year-old best friend of Euan Blair and girlfriend of junior minister Sion Simon to be their candidate - one Luciana Berger. Miss Berger though, as you may know, isn't from the area and seems to know little about it. In fact she even seems to not wish to learn.
But this being Liverpool Wavertree the local population have a dilema; this is rock-solid Labour territory. No other party can touch the majority built up by Jane Kennedy. So step forward Ricky Tomlinson, the TV star and Socialist Party member. Tomlinson is outraged at the outsider trying to be elected in his home seat. Tomlinson seems genuinely furious, enough to quit acting, take a pay cut and be the local candidate that people want. Tomlinson's fame and media pull could make this into another Tatton-style contest. He may not win but he could very well give Miss Berger a fright.
Is this a good thing? Are celebs and their like any better as politicans, can they enliven the political debate or restore faith in democracy? Who knows, but its gonna be fun finding out!