I’m relieved that ‘Jedward’ are off the X Factor, but what does it mean for politicians?

Don’t get me wrong; I admired the boys’ fighting spirit, and their obvious love of life, but they were in danger of derailing what should be a fair competition to find singers of talent. I’m sure that they will go on to be successful entertainers, and I wish them well, but I probably won’t be attending one of their concerts any time soon.

Twins Jedward aka John and Edward Grimes from the X-Factor

'Jedward' aka twins John and Edward Grimes from the X Factor

However, while I do not believe that any of this year’s finalists have the potential, quality or the talent of , say, Leona Lewis or Alex Burke, it still makes interesting viewing, and the danger that their presence would turn the whole thing into a simple popularity contest could really have damaged the whole format.

I don’t believe that talent shows like this are the best way to give performers a break, and the absolute dominance of the music charts by X Factor acts is a testament to its power – and its ability to distort the music industry and exclude others.

However, whatever their negative impact, the ability of programmes like this to pull people together, and to provide a platform for discussion and dialogue between otherwise isolated groups fascinates me.

‘X Factor’ and its sister programme ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ seem to transcend barriers of age, class, race and religion in a way that should be encouraged. I think that politicians have a lot to learn from the way that the public react to these programmes, and the public’s willingness to engage with their ability to influence and shape the direction of them.

If we were able to harness that strong desire to participate, and seek ways to introduce the principles into the political process, I believe that our nation would be better for it.

In particular, the way in which young people seem willing to use the Internet and mobile devices to express their views and opinions, and to exercise their right to vote give me hope that, in the future, politicians will find ways to make the political process more inclusive, and to encourage the participation of a wider audience.

The recent Expenses Scandal, combined with the rise of extremist parties shows that we have reached a time when the electorate and the public in general have become uniquely disenchanted with politicians and the political process.

The forthcoming election gives us a chance to change that, but I also believe that a change of personnel at the top must be combined with fundamental changes to the system if we are to ensure the health and success of our democracy in the future.

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