Grayson Perry’s ‘Who Are You?’ is the first thing I’ve watched on Channel 4 in a while and it was very good. The conceit is to bring portriats of ordinary contemporary Britons into the white, rich, male historical figures of the National Portrait Gallery in London and it really works. You start to realise quite how brilliant an artist Grayson is — the Ashford Hijab I thought was particularly beautiful.
Then there’s the contrast with the one white middle aged political figure he does bring into the collection — Chris Huhne — as fallen rising political star. The difference couldn’t be more stark. Huhne’s identity is unknowable — even in the extreme circumstances of public humiliation and two and a half months in prison he still doesn’t crack so Grayson portrays him as a broken vase. Of course, it’s on TV and perhaps that’s why Huhne doesn’t show any sign of contrition or remorse. For a politician it’s a badge of honour not to waiver, not to change your mind. But compared to everyone else that Grayson portrays in the show, the politician comes across as a remote and tragic figure. Unfortunately the front benches (and most board rooms) are full of similar characters. And until that changes, I can’t help thinking that the gulf between ‘leaders’ and ordinary people will remain.