Political engagement with June Sarpong

June SarpongI never ‘got’ June Sarpong MBE as a TV presenter – she always seemed (at least) half-asleep to me. Her elevation to the status of Question Time panellist wasn’t met with universal acclaim. But to her immense credit, she does seem genuinely passionate about bringing young people, specifically young women, into politics – as the piece she wrote for Channel 4’s 25th birthday demonstrates.
Now she’s launching a website called Politics & The City. A quick glance at the homepage reveals a site that’s a lot more Sarah Jessica Parker than Sarah Teather. I’m not personally over-keen on the design: too much Flash, not enough clear visual direction. And although it’s not immediately obvious amid the supermodel namedropping, I’m assured there’s political content in there, somewhere.
An interview in today’s Independent tells the whole story. Content is being written by ‘two political journalists and two glossy magazine journalists’. There will be regular contributions from June’s celeb chums. You get the picture.
Apparently the site’s had ‘rave reviews from test audiences’. Maybe I’m too old, or too deep into politics already, or too masculine… but I don’t get it. Then again, as I said, I never ‘got’ June. However, since it’s been built using WordPress (by the Liverpool-based Interconnect IT), I’m obliged to love it. 🙂
Frankly, we’re at the point where any attempt to engage people in politics is to be welcomed. A poll quoted in this morning’s Times (and referenced on the Spectator’s Coffee House blog) showed – unsurprisingly – that people generally ‘like’ David Cameron at the moment, and ‘dislike’ Gordon Brown. But when they were asked if either man ‘means what he says’ or ‘says what you want to hear’, both party leaders scored equally badly – almost identically so. Depressing stuff.