Monday, April 18, 2005


There's something wonderfully touching about the The Sun suddenly deciding that it's going to be in charge of Rock The Vote UK, its supposed attempt to persuade the young people to vote. And who is the face at the figurehead of the push to get under 25s out to vote? Joss Stone.

The whole thing would be hilarious if it wasn't so vapid. The paper's only journalist, Trevor Kavanagh, for some reason has been despatched to write this call to arms. Although Kavanagh is good at what he does (printing on Mr. Murdoch's papers such words as delight Mr. Murdoch), what he does isn't writing fluffy celeb-obsessed stuff for the more vapid end of The Sun's readership. So he starts off attempting to explain the importance of voting by throwing in something The Kids can relate to:

In 1989, millions celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Communism because it gave THEM the chance to vote for the first time in 70 years.

Trevor, a kid who knows what that means is probably connected enough to be planning to vote anyway. Otherwise, it's meaningless. Someone who's eligible to vote for the first time this May would have been seven years old or younger when the Berlin Wall came down - they'd struggle to remember Gary Barlow, never mind Communism.

He also chooses to throw Iraq in, as well:

IN January the world watched in awe as eight million Iraqis braved terrorist slaughter to take part in the country’s first general election for a lifetime.

In some parts of the ravaged country, turnout was a staggering 90 per cent.

Women in tears were determined to have their first-ever say in the greatest event in the democratic calendar.

Yet in Britain on May 5, millions will stay home and watch EastEnders or go to the pub rather than decide how — and by whom — their nation is governed.

Hmm. But didn't the world equally watch in awe when millions of these supposedly lazy young people marched through the streets of London in protest at the fuck-up UK politicians were about to help make in Iraq? Could it be that a lot of the people who aren't going to vote aren't actually staying at home because they're lazy, but because their first experience of participating in the nation's life was of the government ignoring a clear public expression of opinion?

And those who are more interested in Eastenders than politics - can anyone suggest a newspaper which might have helped the gorming-up of the country? (The other stories above the fold on the Sun website this morning are Coronation Street at the BAFTAs, Paula radcliffe doing some weeing, Wayne Rooney being given money for playing football, the launch of FHM High Street Honeys, and two - yes - election stories, one of which is actually a page three girl getting her tits out and the other is a nasty lie about the number of "illegal immigrants".)

And, really, is this the best way to try and get people interested in the political issues?

It's not just Joss Stone, though: there's, um, Noel Gallagher. And apparently Jennifer Ellison.

Of course, you do have to take your hat off to the Sun. As they point out, the US Rock The Vote campaign got an extra 1.4 million voters out last year. Clearly, the Sun is worried that someone might organise the same sort of thing here, which could harm Trev and Rupe's beloved Tory consensus. What better than pre-empting anyone else coming along and organising youth than by wheeling out some awful, clapped out old singers like Gallagher and middle-aged dinner party tunesmiths like Joss Stone to spike the guns of an effective Rock The Vote in the UK?

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