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Clint Eastwood | Top 10 actors turned politician

Iconic actor who served one term as mayor of Carmel, California.

Clint Eastwood's film career has spanned six decades. He is famous for his roles in the spaghetti westerns of the 1960s, as well as the Dirty Harry films, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and Escape from Alcatraz. As well as multiple nominations for the Best Actor Oscar, he won the Best Director award for his 2004 film Million Dollar Baby.

Eastwood has long been a staunch Republican -- he says he registered in order to vote for Eisenhower in 1952 and went on to support Nixon during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1986, he was elected mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, and served one term. An unusual law banning the sale and consumption of ice cream on the streets formed a focal point of his campaign for election, and once in office, he overturned the law, saying it ran counter to the interests of local businesses. He also oversaw the building of new access facilities for the popular beach and expanded the town library. However, although he was popular during his tenure, many residents were outspoken in their desire that he should not seek a second term as his celebrity was attracting unmanageable numbers of tourists to the town. Eastwood did not run for re-election.

However, his involvement in politics did not stop there. During the 2008 presidential election campaign, he endorsed John McCain, saying that he had known him since 1973. He has also served on the California State Park and Recreation Commission.

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Caroline Crampton is web editor of the New Statesman.

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No, David Cameron’s speech was not “left wing”

Come on, guys.

There is a strange journalistic phenomenon that occurs when a party leader makes a speech. It is a blend of groupthink, relief, utter certainty, and online backslapping. It happened particularly quickly after David Cameron’s speech to Tory party conference today. A few pundits decided that – because he mentioned, like, diversity and social mobility – this was a centre-left speech. A leftwing speech, even. Or at least a clear grab for the liberal centre ground. And so that’s what everyone now believes. The analysis is decided. The commentary is written. Thank God for that.

Really? It’s quite easy, even as one of those nasty, wicked Tories, to mention that you actually don’t much like racism, and point out that you’d quite like poor children to get jobs, without moving onto Labour's "territory". Which normal person is in favour of discriminating against someone on the basis of race, or blocking opportunity on the basis of class? Of course he’s against that. He’s a politician operating in a liberal democracy. And this isn’t Ukip conference.

Looking at the whole package, it was actually quite a rightwing speech. It was a paean to defence – championing drones, protecting Britain from the evils of the world, and getting all excited about “launching the biggest aircraft carriers in our history”.

It was a festival of flagwaving guff about the British “character”, a celebration of shoehorning our history chronologically onto the curriculum, looking towards a “Greater Britain”, asking for more “national pride”. There was even a Bake Off pun.

He also deployed the illiberal device of inculcating a divide-and-rule fear of the “shadow of extremism – hanging over every single one of us”, informing us that children in UK madrassas are having their “heads filled with poison and their hearts filled with hate”, and saying Britain shouldn’t be “overwhelmed” with refugees, before quickly changing the subject to ousting Assad. How unashamedly centrist, of you, Mr Prime Minister.

Benefit cuts and a reduction of tax credits will mean the Prime Minister’s enthusiasm for “equality of opportunity, as opposed to equality of outcome” will be just that – with the outcome pretty bleak for those who end up losing any opportunity that comes with state support. And his excitement about diversity in his cabinet rings a little hollow the day following a tubthumping anti-immigration speech from his Home Secretary.

If this year's Tory conference wins the party votes, it’ll be because of its conservative commitment – not lefty love bombing.

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.