THREE cheers for Jo Swinson, the Women and Equalities Minister who garnered some decent media coverage over the festive period by attacking glossy magazines which promote “miracle diets” in their January editions.
“Surely by now we’re all aware that there are no miracle diets,” thundered the young Lib-Dem, “or if there are they come with a cost.”
A very important issue, that. The country is teetering on economic and social collapse but, by golly, we must make sure that people do not drink cabbage soup for three days before getting bored and secretly scoffing that stale chocolate hiding at the back of the bald Christmas tree.
My only concern about the blanket coverage of Ms Swinson’s crucial campaign is that it prevented another story, entirely unrelated of course, from getting the attention it deserved...
Junior government ministers have been warned to resist the temptation to shed too much weight from their ideas this January.
(Spin) Doctors say many politicians, particularly the young and impressionable ones, feel pressurised into promoting ideas and notions that are “dangerously thin”.
“In recent years,” said top media manager Terry Fibbs, who is known as “Tel” to his friends, “it has become fashionable for all politicians to build philosophies without much meat on the bone.
“David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’, for example, was a mere slip of a thing compared even to Tony Blair’s ‘Third Way’, which was not exactly a heavyweight.
“However, junior politicians who look up to men like Blair and Cameron are now taking it to the next level, creating Size Zero ideas in a desperate bid for attention or respect.”
Mr Fibbs said the changing nature of 21st century media was partly to blame for the Size Zero policy.
“It was not too bad when we used to hide the politicians away on Newsnight,” he said. “Among that late-night, niche market there was quite a tolerance, even an appetite, for sturdier policies with plenty to go at.
“But that all changed when we moved them onto mainstream shows like GMTV and This Morning, whose viewers preferred a slimmer soundbite.
“But even they look like a Lord Macauley essay when you compare them to Twitter, in which ideas must be stripped of all argument, nuance and supporting evidence in order to fit the 140 character limit. Plus, you have to leave room for a LOL.”
The temptation to release Size Zero ideas was particularly tempting during Parliamentary recesses, said Mr Fibbs, because there is more chance of news-starved media picking up on them.
“By all means slim down your ideas,” he added, “but do so at a sensible rate and through a healthy, balanced diet of jargon, sloganeering and empty promises. Surely we all know by now that there are no miracle ideas, or if there are they come with a cost. A cost of making you sound ridiculous.”