When ex-England international footballer Sol Campbell retired in 2011, convention indicated that an unsuccessful spell managing in the lower leagues, perhaps at Swindon Town, before becoming a pundit who appeared on Match of the Day four or five times a year, was likely to follow.
Yet, the divisive Campbell confounded expectations with a foray into British politics, with dreams of becoming a Conservative politician. Early on, from his protests that Labour’s proposed mansion tax was unaffordable, in spite of his estimated 34 million pound worth, to a disturbing photograph campaign in which he ‘whited up’ as part of Generation Black Vote, there were a few missteps.
In an age where the line between celebrity and politician is blurred, however, Sol was not perturbed. In 2015 he believed his moment had come and he threw his name into the hat for London mayor, declaring ‘I have got so much to offer’. Sadly for Sol, it had not; he failed to make the Conservative Party’s shortlist. Nevertheless, for a man of Sol’s tenacity this was not the beginning of the end, rather the end of the beginning. From his powerful argument that Brexit will be the saviour of English football, to rumours he may stand as a candidate for the Conservative Party in 2022, there can be little doubt that we are witnessing the birth of a politician destined for greatness.
Ollie Lund, Online Editor
In a country like India where foreigners visit and vanish with large helpings of curry and heatstroke, it’s surprising that Sonia Gandhi (née Maino), an Italian born Caucasian woman, was a leading figure in the tumultuous world of Indian politics for two decades. Born and raised in rural Italy, Sonia fell in love with cheery student Rajiv Gandhi, the son of India’s only woman Prime Minister – and uprooted herself from the desolate Italian mountains to the bustling capital of India.
Living in a family where the matriarch was Prime Minister was difficult for a country girl, especially when said matriarch was assassinated and Sonia’s young husband was voted in as Prime Minister. The family thrived however, until Rajiv too was assassinated in a bomb blast, leaving Sonia with two young children in a foreign country, beginning to be overrun by ill feeling towards her.
Yet with no experience in politics, or even a university education, Sonia took the reins of the dying Congress Party of India, which was beginning to be decimated by right wing Hindu nationalists, and managed to win two consequent general elections – yet stepping aside from being PM as she gave the position to a Sikh, Manmohan Singh.
Despite this, and even after forty years of being Indian and twenty years in Indian politics, she is forever greeted by sexist and xenophobic remarks from both parties, for her foreign-ness, her accent and her status as a widow who dared to step out. Sonia’s story is strange, not purely because she was an Italian country girl that worked in a restaurant, who then controlled the political ladder in a foreign country, but because she had done it for the love of her deceased husband.
Jesse Ventura started off his career as a professional wrestler, after a stint in the US Navy. In a career spanning from 1975 to 1986, Ventura was finally inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004, just after finishing his term as the 38th Governor of Minnesota and Mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. In what is an unusual career change, Ventura also starred in films such as Predator and The Running Man with fellow body-builder and politician Arnie himself. Following a prestigious career, during which he introduced many reforms in Minnesota, Ventura decided not to seek re-election in 2002. However he is still politically active, starring in his own show on RT America. In a turn of events, very much like his career, Ventura features in public service announcements condemning steroids and their miss-use. It sure looks like he’d rather pump money into Minnesota than pump his muscles in the gym.