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Let the public decide

Simon Cowell = David Cameron

A loyal reader ((Thanks to Daniel F.)) writes:

Worst-ever example of Unspeak on X-Factor last [Sunday] night. Cowell in his capacity as producer obviously wanted to keep ratings hit Jedward, so he needed to vote for them to create the deadlock that would lead to a public vote Jedward were bound to win. But in his capacity as “straight-talking” judge, he couldn’t bring himself to say “I vote for Jedward”, an act he has vilified for weeks. So instead he says “I’m letting the public decide.” See? He’s not only betraying his only redeeming characteristic for greed, he’s championing democracy. FUCK THE MAN! ((Happily, we need not decide whether this means “Fuck Simon Cowell” or “Fuck The Man, generally”; we may hold the two senses in a delicious equilibrium.))

Evidently passions run high about The X-Factor, which as far as I understand it is some sort of televised karaoke contest judged by shits? But my correspondent’s point generalizes beyond the jurisprudence of reality TV: very often, a politician who declares that he will let the public decide (thereby appealing to the highest imaginable virtue, democracy), is doing so as a way of getting himself off the hook with regard to an uncomfortable decision that he’d rather not make.

Just so, plastic-browed God-discoverer David Cameron promised for a long time that he would hold a referendum on the constitutional changes to the EU, so as to avoid having to tell the BNP wing of his party where to get off, in contrast to the prime minister who, he fulminated, would not let the public decide. Meanwhile, Obama’s ethics czar said earlier this year, of the opening-up of the White House visitor logs: “We did full transparency. We’ll let the public decide who among them is a lobbyist or not.” Eh? Why not tell the public yourself?

If politicians really consider it such a virtue to let the public decide on matters of significance, then they must be of the view that elected representatives are useless except for the purpose of stealing money to buy themselves houses. So we should expect that, shortly, they will all sack themselves and institute an entirely automated system of state decision-making via premium-rate telephone polls. Let me say now that I for one welcome our new mob-rule overlords.

The only thing I didn’t understand about my correspondent’s otherwise devastating observation was the assertion that Simon Cowell has a “redeeming characteristic”. Please?

  1. 1  tom the peeper  November 10, 2009, 10:10 am 

    “Evidently passions run high about The X-Factor, which as far as I understand it is some sort of televised karaoke contest judged by shits?”

    which, oddly enough, is exactly how Simon Cowell pitched the show to ITV.

  2. 2  Dave Weeden  November 11, 2009, 7:24 pm 

    The above seems to be Shakespeare and Calvino imitator (plagiariser? wrecker?) Sting‘s view too. I can’t understand why “Fields Of Gold is a staple of talent show auditions” when ‘Roxanne’ is a much better song.

  3. 3  Steven  November 12, 2009, 8:38 am 

    “Roxanne” is much harder to sing.

  4. 4  Dave Weeden  November 12, 2009, 2:17 pm 

    True, but isn’t the point of entering talent contests to actually show off by tackling difficult material? OK, probably not.

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