Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Britain, let's take a look at your best bits

Well, the time has come. After weeks and weeks of tedious analysis and more inarticulate vox-pops that you could shake a junior researcher at, the election is finally here.

According to the experts, this one is really too close to call. David Cameron's probably slightly ahead, but Nick Clegg surprised everyone in the televised debates by being more than just the nice bloke in the middle. Occasionally, his repeated 'I'm not like the other guys' mantra started to sound like he was going to burst into a rendition of Thriller, but on the whole he equipped himself surprisingly well.

Gordon Brown stalked around the country like an angry thundercloud, with fists clenched and a smile of sorts, that hung permanently at half-mast. That left David Cameron to try and convince the world that the Conservatives are the only ones we can trust to look after education, the environment and the NHS. Which is a bit like recruiting a nanny from the sex offenders register.

There's little more that any of them can to to persuade those stubbornly non-committal floating voters. So it's now in the hands of the gods, and Simon Cowell, to tell us which box to cross.

As the unofficial barometer of public preference, Cowell has written exclusively in The Sun that Cameron is, like Obi-Wan Kenobi before him, our only hope: "David Cameron is the prime minister Britain needs at this time. He has the substance and the stomach to navigate us through difficult times."

Cowell has clearly been scrutinising the candidates' policies very closely in order to fully inform his decision: "I have always trusted my gut instinct - and this was a guy who I thought would do the right things for this country." This is the same gut instinct that gave the world Eoghan Quigg.

Although he's careful not to criticise Gordon Brown too much (Gillian Duffy took care of that), he pulls no punches when it comes to Clegg. Ironically, the man whose influence is directly responsible for turning this election into the X-Factor with colour-coded neckties, argues "We are not talent show judges picking pretty-sounding contestants now. The future government of our country is so much more important than that."

Simon Cowell has an uncanny knack for manipulating the will of the British people. If his preferred act is off to an early lead, he savages them in order to encourage the fans to vote. If they're falling behind he uses tactical praise to pick off the weaker contestants. But every once in a while, he misreads public sentiment.

Sites like 'votefortheworst' function solely to irritate Simon, creating communities of fans who'll vote for the underdog on any talent show just to piss him off. It'll be interesting to see whether Cowell's decision to back a favourite triggers a similar backlash.

Now, go exercise your democratic right...

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