Did Clegg Have The X-Factor?

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Christmas may now be a distant memory and the May 2010 elections even more so, but as we see the last of our Christmas flab fade, the ramifications of votes cast in April aren’t so easily shed…

It was business as usual for X-factor this Christmas as Matt Cardle’s record When We Collide was crowned Christmas number one. Not even a carefully coordinated mass purchase could stop the X-factor machine this year, despite conjuring up the best attempt ever seen at substantiating the phrase ‘selling ice to the Eskimos’ as John Cage sold the public 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence. But as Biffy Clyro’s original version of the Christmas number one snuck its way into the chart we were left with a perverse situation: two versions of the same song, yet nine chart places separating them?

Whatever one’s music tastes no one can claim that Matt Cardle’s cover was 9 chart places superior. Sure he has a pleasant voice and the production was executed professionally like you’d expect, but nine places does seem a little bit generous.

The real reason for Matt’s success is instead that he is a ‘nice guy’. We have all followed his journey on the telly and feel the need to congratulate him on his success by making him a success. The record itself becomes a little irrelevant. There is no need to take a look at the substance of a record. It is easy to settle with the X-Factor and support the man you have actively had a part in transforming from rags (or painters overalls in this case) to riches.

But fear not, Cardle seems to be all but gone from our radios a month on, and we can enjoy ten months of joyous relief until Britain’s next hidden gem shines forth.

One person who you will be hearing from for the next year and onwards however is Mr Nick Clegg. As the Lib Dem popularity has fallen to its lowest since the party was formed in 1989, it’s clear that there are many that are regretting their vote. Back in April 2010 the Nick Clegg show was in full swing. ‘Say goodbye to broken promises!’ he declared, ‘Yes please!’ we replied. But now as Clegg has all but given up on making excuses for the ridiculous promises he and his party made in April; the question begs to be asked: How did the public fall for it?

Probably for the same reason that the public fall for buying an unimaginative record to number one each year: judging style over substance.

Nick Clegg seemed like a nice guy and he probably is, but this is as far as many of his new voters got to when deciding to vote for the Liberal Democrats last May. Support for the Lib Dems surged during the TV debates as Brown and Cameron bickered, whilst Clegg was pampered with ‘I agree with Nick’, a phrase that the public lapped up. Charismatic Clegg basked in the calm as the other candidates found themselves in the eye of the storm, and came out looking very good indeed.

Now though in a cold, dark January, Nick Clegg has lost his novelty value for many. The complications of a coalition government are becoming more and more apparent and the reality of the Lib Dems’ manifesto is starting to shine through the shiny gloss that blinded many voters in May. The X-Factor voting style that many adopted is beginning to come unstuck.

So whilst the next time we hear from Mr Cardle will most likely be on the Identity Parade’ round of Never Mind The Buzzcocks’ in ten years time, regrettably for many the coalition government is here to stay.

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Discussion3 Comments

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    Dear Rob, while I feel this may infact be your true opinion of the Lib Dem situation. I am concerned that many poorly informed impressionable puppets believe our countries defecit may be reduced without adversely effecting their own little worlds.

    Nick Clegg, when push came to shove – adapted to the situation which he was faced with. He decided to cut funding for Universities, instead of slaughtering our NHS to its knees. For those of you who are doing vocational courses perhaps you should realise that University isn’t for you, and that the doll queue is. If you find you are really struggling for work, I heard there is a shortage of miners in Chile.

    I do however have no doubt that you fail to see this bigger picture and continue moaning in vain.

    Rob McWhirter
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    Hi Jim, apologies for the late reply,

    To say that I am ‘moaning in vain’ is incredibly naive. What ever your or my own views are on the cuts to education, the article is primarily interested in the Lib Dems broken promises. Many voters relied on the Cleggs promise to vote against any university cuts in May and have seen that promise completely ignored in now their MPs have seats in parliament. I cannot understand how you can view this outrageous breach of public trust as a vain cause.

    You assume that the article is based on my own opinion of the Lib Dems. Yet the article is primarily concerned with the the opinion of those that voted Lib Dem in the election. Clearly there is unrest: (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/liberaldemocrats/8240151/Support-for-Lib-Dems-hits-all-time-low.html). My own opinion is only expressed when I speculate in reasons behind such a drop in popularity. That is, that the crazy promises made in April have been dramatically discarded and those that voted Lib Dem feel cheated.

    My own opinion on the cuts is not as narrow minded as you assume. Your assumption that I ‘believe our countries defecit may be reduced without adversely effecting [my] own little world’ is rude and unfounded. The cuts are going to affect everyone, and necessarily so. My anger is not necessarily against the cuts, it is against the promises that the Lib Dems made and the fact that many voters (I can think of a handful of personal examples off the top of my head) voted from the romanticised image of the Lib Dems rather than the reality of the promises they were making.

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    Surely anyone who believed that the Liberal Democrats would be able to achieve a majority government and implement such a policy is at best naive.

    Similarly anyone who believes that the Liberal Democrats in a minority coalition government would have the freedom to define the agenda is both naive and unrealistic.

    In a situation where no party has an overall majority, and a government is formed under a coalition, clearly no party is likely to be able to deliver on all the sweeties it hoped to deliver and laid out in its manifesto. There is no betrayal of a manifesto if the party has not achieved sufficient majority to form a government in its own right.

    Anyone railing against the Liberal Democrats for not giving the students a free ride under a coalition government in a recession the like of which we have not seen since the 1930’s has clearly lost their grip on political reality.

    Such moaning just makes students look childish. Of course, students have every right to campaign in their own selfish interests, but whinging about manifesto pledges of the Liberals not being honoured when they won 8.8% of the seats in the 2010 general election is a nonsense. At best the Liberal Democrats can have influence, and cannot determine policy, and would be given a few policy wins which would not conflict too strongly with the policy direction of the majority party, and with the need to govern in the national interest. There is no betrayal. Although it is a good thing if in future Liberal Democrats are held to account on making too many promises that they could not afford to keep should they (against all odds) win a majority.

    At best a manifesto outlines the intended strategic direction of a party should it achieve majority government, and any realistic voter should realise that events will sometimes affect the ability to deliver on manifesto pledges and election promises that politicians are often driven to sign up to during election campaigns to due to the overarching influence of the media and high profile campaigning by single interest groups. Parliament is sovereign, and the government, any government, has a responsibility to govern in the national interest.

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