Monday 10 June 2013

Chocolate and politics

The results of a very important election were announced in Saturday’s Guardian. Richard Osman declared the winner of the World Cup of Chocolate.

It wasn’t really a ‘World Cup’, more a British Cup. Osman organised a knockout competition via Twitter between 32 of Britain’s favourite chocolate bars and chocolate sweets.

You’ll have to read the article to find out the winner. But I want you to read it and examine your emotional reactions. You will cheer as a favourite wins through to the next round. You will be outraged when one of your favourites is knocked out. But the point is that you have strong feelings. Admit it, by the end of reading that article, you were already planning a trip to the newsagents to buy a chocolate bar.

Now ask yourself why the political choices put before us don’t arouse the same emotions. Why does a speech by Cameron, Miliband or Clegg not excite similar passions? Might it have anything to do with the convergence of mainstream politicians on the so-called ‘centre ground’? Might it be that the unimaginative managerialism that dominates our politics is insufferably dreary? Might it be that our leading politicians are more the equivalent of a packet of rice crackers than a tube of Smarties?

When the Liberal Democrats work out how they can make liberalism arouse the same passions that people feel about Maltesers or Twix, then the party will be on the road to recovery.

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