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Thank heavens for that. How many times this year have we woken up, checked the news and wished we hadn’t ? So thank you Sarah Olney for breaking that pattern this morning.
And you know, I wonder if we are experiencing, in a small way, a sort of Good News Fightback? Love, peace and goodwill now seems to be cool – and it’s nothing to do with the looming festivities.
It feels like “I’m a Celeb” is fresh and new and streets ahead of a tired and tawdry “X Factor”, with contestants enjoying each other’s company, displaying generousity of spirit and deed, rather than combative dog-eat-dog gotta-get-to-top-of-the-pile.
But this isn’t a one-off. Look at “Bake Off” and “Strictly”. And look at the distaste when GBBO was sold – both from the public and many of those who made the show so popular.
In he acceptance speech last night, Olney said “Well, today we have said no. We will defend the Britain we love. We will stand up for the open, tolerant, united Britain we believe in.“
The reassertion of these values, and their endorsement either in TV votes and by-elections is truly to be welcomed – but let us not get too carried away.
These are rarefied environments. Richmond is a very well off constituency. The participants are largely self-selecting. Politicians – especially LibDems – do not have particularly high public credibility, and those TV programmes are made to entertain. This has still been the year of the rant, the bile, the untimely sometimes murderous deaths.
And yet…..whatever the limitations on the spread of a Good News Fightback, these events give us something that often has felt in short supply of late: Hope.
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