Politics: it’s show biz for the undisciplined, says Glenda Jackson

Andy McSmith
glenda 225x300 Politics: its show biz for the undisciplined, says Glenda Jackson

Glenda Jackson (Getty Images)

Politics is said to be show biz for ugly people. It is also show biz for very undisciplined people, according to one professional who has tried both.

“The kind of behaviour you saw in parliament would not be tolerated for 30 seconds in a professional theatre,” the Labour MP Glenda Jackson has said, in a rare interview with the Yahoo!News website. “Essentially there’s a lack of professionalism, very poor timekeeping, a great deal of wasting time, and egos the size of which I’ve never seen in my life before.

“Acting isn’t a game. Theatre isn’t fun. People aren’t playing. It’s an extremely hard-working, very dedicated professional place to work, and regardless of the individual personalities engaged in a play, there is a genuine goal that everyone is attempting to reach.”

That sort of team spirit is “remarkably lacking” in politics, she added.

Glenda Jackson was one of the greatest actresses of her generation, with two Oscars, a Bafta and numerous other wards on her c.v., but political success was more elusive. When she was first elected in 1992, she was told she would be swapping one theatre for another, but was never offered a starring role in Parliament. In 2010, she only just held on to her Hampstead and Kilburn seat by 42 votes, making her the only MP in Great Britain with a majority lower than her age.

Now aged 76, she is not planning to run again, but still believes that politics matters. “To think you can somehow be outside the political decisions that are made in your country and they will not affect you, I find utterly bewildering,” she said.

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