Friday, 2 October 2009


I saw it announced on BBC News 24 last night that David Cameron has told The Spectator that he would like local Thanet [con] artist Tracey Emin to paint a portrait of him (possibly alongside their latest issue in which he tries to convince us that he's got revolutionary political ideas... hmm, really?). Needless to say, there's no official announcement of this painting actually happening, nor is there much evidence circulating online to corroborate this little nugget of gossip.

I did, however, find some proof. I once got told off by a fellow blogger (Northfleet) for citing a news article from The Daily Telegraph, so I'm fully expecting further abuse for citing this article from The Times which, unfortunately, is the only online source I can find which proves that David Cameron is indeed a big fan of Emin's work and would like to be painted by her. I'm not quite 100% sure what to make of this, to be honest. Make of it what you will.

But I'm suspicious that this is yet another example of David Cameron's ongoing PR campaign to win votes from those with perhaps more liberal sensibilities. After all, he's already claimed that there's not much which separates the Lib Dems and the Tories on policy, possibly in the hope that liberal voters will jump ship and vote for him instead. And let's face it, Tracey Emin's avant-gardist and controversial style isn't really, shall we say, suited to appeal to those with more conservative tastes, so I find it pretty bizarre that he's made this statement.

If perhaps – shock horror – Cameron is being honest about his admiration for Tracey Emin (unlikely, I know), then doubtlessly a painting done by her would definitely be interesting to see. Would she play it safe, or would she draw a turd protruding from his mouth, to metaphorically express what most of us are already thinking? Or would she just merely do a carbon copy of Tony Blair which, in some people's eyes, is all Cameron amounts to?

If this portrait does happen, I've got no doubt that the media coverage generated from Tracey Emin's association with David Cameron would hopefully create a knock-on effect and give Margate some much-needed publicity. However, since Emin has previously stated her hatred of Maggie Thatcher, I'm a bit doubtful whether it'll actually happen. Then again, I could be wrong – Tracey Emin attended a Tory arts dinner earlier this year and appears to be warming to the prospect of a Tory government. “The Tories today are different,” she said, just prior to her meeting with George Osbourne to discuss her concerns about taxes on British artists.

Since Emin certainly seems to have been rubbing shoulders with prominent Tories, I wouldn't be surprised if she was commissioned to do a portrait of David Cameron – after all, she is an artist who knows the value of controversy and the ability to shock, so jumping on the Tory bandwagon would certainly be an opportunistic way for her to send earthquakes through the traditionally left-leaning arts world. All I will say is that I don't think the more staunch Conservative voters will swallow some of the tripe that she passes off as art, so I think Cameron's appreciation of her is merely just a PR move on his part to get lefties to vote for him. If Emin's stupid enough to fool for that, then that's her prerogative.

1 comment:

  1. I wouldn't worry about our Tracey moving to France. I seem to recall that similar 'great' entertainers/artists like Cilla Black and Jimmy Tarbuck were going to leave the country when Labour came to power in 1997.

    Sadly for the viewing public they're still here!

    I'd still be more than happy to chip in for a one way plane ticket if the offer is still there.

    If Tracey wants to fly out of the UK, then maybe she could use Manston. Ooops... sorry Tory controlled KCC (shouldn't have mentioned that).

    Anyway, keep up the blogging, and being the good catholic that I am I forgive you for mentioning the Telegraph!