I don’t mean to sound insensitive here: I think the death of a child is a heart-breaking tragedy. What bothers me though, is the amount of play David Cameron’s empty, platitude-filled speech on the last day of the Conservative Party Conference has been getting vis-a-vis the “emotional” moment when he spoke about the death of his disabled six year old, Ivan.
“When such a big part of your life suddenly ends nothing else – nothing outside – matters. It's like the world has stopped turning and the clocks have stopped ticking."
I couldn’t help but feel – every time the news report said something to the effect of: “but then Cameron spoke of the loss of his six year old son” – that we were seeing that bit in X-Factor where the contestant rolls out their sob story to gain the sympathy of the voting public.
“I’m doing this for my dead father who would’ve wanted me to follow my dreams….”
“It’s been a really hard year for me because my sister died of cancer just after Christmas and my dog got run over by a school-bus in May…”
I was almost expecting a few bars of Coldplay in the background and a slow-mo shot of Cameron wiping away devastated tears as he gets comforted by Dermot O’Leary.
The X-Factorization of British Politics is complete – emotive sob stories that blind you from any real substance the candidates might have, a limited pool of real talent from which to vote, and a foregone and manipulated conclusion as to who the winner will be.
Now here’s a deficit-busting solution for the 2010 General Election: a premium number phone vote!
Put the election on a Saturday night, reel off a few well produced VT packages to sell the respective parties, have Simon Cowell and a few other unqualified guest panellists share their irrelevant sound-bite opinions and then let the public pay £1 a call to vote for their favourite MPs! Democracy’s already a farce of public relations and spin, but at least this way we might raise a little money without public spending cuts?