TV turned on to Cleggmania

THIS time next week it will all be over.Either the Camerons will be measuring up for curtains at Number 10, the Cleggs summoning their sofas or the Browns staying put.

THIS time next week it will all be over.

Either the Camerons will be measuring up for curtains at Number 10, the Cleggs summoning their sofas or the Browns staying put.

Or, more likely, the leaders will be embroiled in a mighty scrap over the keys like a 1970s suburban wife-swapping party if it ends up a hung parliament.

A landslide, power clinched by a whisker or hung, what started out as a dull-as-ditchwater same-old election is turning into a historic watershed - because of television.

The TV debates have achieved something weeks of canvassing, door stepping, advertising and marketing could never do - pulled in young people.

With in-your-face head to heads, the fuddy-duddy musty boring world of politics, as it is to the under 30s, has been made instantly relevant. Because it's on tele.

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TV is the world of the first-time voter - instant, glossed and showy. Just like Nick Clegg. Cleggmania was born.

The young love change - are never phased by it. They do it all the time, boyfriends, cars, jobs, image, college courses. They have an obsession with newness, chucking out the hardly used and near its sell-by-date and replacing it with the new.

They've watched the debates and realise that they can make a change.

Where older generations feared to take risks, sticking with safe and what they know, young people are different - and, young people will decide next week's election and the shape and colour of what's to come because television has shown them how.

The debates have made it easy. They don't have to read manifestos now, listen to interminable reports or follow the campaigns to grasp the issues.

There, in pancake make-up, in choreographed performances, were the choices on their screens, sound bite perfect. A decision in an instant

And the under 30s, used to their X-Box-controller quick reflexes, are adept at instant decisions.

Talk to any young person previously uninterested in politics who sat through the debates and they're hooked on Clegg - because he's new, a shiny new alternative to the two-party yar boo-sucks style.

What's more, there is an army of voters who previously wavered but ultimately voted for what they knew fearing a vote for the Third Man would be wasted vote. They army has been fuelled with a whole new confidence to go with an alternative.

But the young still haven't realised that change for change's sake protest is not a guarantee of better.

But if dragging the wrangles of Westminster on to prime time screens has given birth to a whole new breed of voters, it's a step forward. Whatever next week's outcome may be.

Just don't ask the losers if they'd do TV again.

Gordon Brown cosying up uncomfortably to a rhine-stoned Elvis impersonator on the vote trail was bad enough.

But 'Call me Dave' and Nick 'I'm a straight-talking Northerner ' hoping we might forget their privileged backgrounds if they don't look or sound posh is laughable.

They try so hard to make us think they're just like us. But Eton and Westminster and Kirkley High School and Denes High School are as different as Uzbekistan and Bungay.

Pretending to be common just makes them look ridiculous.

Cameron even turned out for his sister's wedding - dress code morning suits - in a lounge suit with Samantha, usually the epitome of elegance and style, in a frumpy frock and what looked like a dowdy raincoat.

Spin doctors obviously advised that a photo of him in tailcoat and topper would cast back to his Bullingdon Club days.

So votes before a family wedding.

And Nick Clegg, brought up amid wealth and comfort Buckinghamshire, is trumped trying to convince us he's from up north while his wife spends half a day buying underwear in Rigby and Peller, suppliers to the Queen, where a pair of pants costs upwards of �50.

So Miriam doesn't pick up a �5 bra with her tuna on her weekly shop at Sainsbury's then?

Honesty is what everyone wants. We don't give a silk cummerbund where they came from as long as they can do the job needed.

Parents today will not rest until they're managing their children's life from dawn to dusk.

Helicopter parents constantly hovering like annoying flies, checking their children's homework - more like doing it for them - checking they're 'achieving' and 'stimulated' and forcing them into Kumon maths are bad enough.

Now they want to set up and run ruddy schools.

Hundreds of new schools will be opened by parents within the first year of a Conservative government, the Tories say.

But it won't be the level-headed, balanced parents who want to run them.

It's will be the crazed power-mad parents who want everything done their way despite knowing little about education but everything about being 'in charge.'

School already takes up far too much time demanding forms to be filled in, letters read, new regulations absorbed, dinner money remembered and homework books signed.

Running a school? They will be the busybodies we remember to dodge at the school gates, or Gates of Hell, as they're known in our house.

Who would ever send their children to schools run by these ghastly parents - other than children of other ghastly parents.

Stephen Hawking believes aliens could invade earth looking to conquer and colonise a new planet having used up all their resources at home.

Hopefully they'll arrive before next Thursday and do us all a favour and sort out Westminster. Little green men couldn't do a worse job.

The stupidity of the actions of women like Kate Ellis and Deirdre Clark make working lives even more difficult for ordinary women.

Firefighter Mrs Ellis thought that by sleeping with her sexist boss and becoming a 'notch on his bedpost' might stop him 'bullying' her.

Not the obvious solution for misery at work but a path she believed would be effective nevertheless.

Then she was surprised when the entire fire station and surrounding village knew about it.

Lawyer Deidre Clark also shared a steamy moment with her boss - but in full view of colleagues by 'making out' with him on a couch one 'drunken evening' at a party.

After this, she said his attitude to her changed. She is now suing her former company for �3.5 million after being sacked for writing an erotic novel bringing the firm into disrepute.

What happened to just working alongside men and getting on with the job.

If aliens don't manage to conquer and colonise us, Tesco will.

As if the red and blue logo hasn't invaded our homes from every angle, the larder, garden furniture, home entertainment, furniture and clothes.

Now it can even provide your home.

The supermarket chain plans to develop four 'mini-villages' in the South East including 'mixed-use living and leisure' schemes here in Suffolk at Ipswich.

Buyers would find the Tesco homes through the Tesco estate agent service, securing a mortgage through the Tesco banking arm and fitting it out with Tesco products bought on one of the Tesco credit cards.

All we need now is for a baby to be named Tesco - and their takeover of our culture would be complete. Or perhaps there already is one.

Let's just hope she wasn't conceived in one.


Fat people don't like the word fat.

They like large, plump, big even but never fat.

Obese is ok because it sounds like a medical term.

But fat is insulting. It might be unhealthy, inhibiting and can also be fatal. It's also costing each and every one of us dearly to treat obesity and related diseases

As summers pass, every year seems to bring more fat people.

With the first sniff of summer, out comes the flab, unleashed with no embarrassment; spilling out of sleeveless tops, over the top of shorts and, the very worst, hanging under crop tops.

Expanses of skin are so often adorned with tawdry tattoos - fat people embrace the 'if you've got it flaunt it' motto with gusto. Really, in the interests of good taste and public decency, they just shouldn't.

They also seem to be the first people to get sunburn, somehow. More flesh to burn I suppose.

But there is help, support and expert encouragement out there for everyone to take. So why don't people?

Kessingland mum Hayley Morgan is not only three and a half stone lighter after joining Slimming World - her debilitating asthma is also much better and she hardly needs an inhaler. She's done it for herself

I joined Slimming World just like Hayley more than two years ago and in seven months I'd lost three stone. I lost the weight and gained a whole new group of friends and support network.

I still go the group every week to keep the weight off because, like Hayley, it changed my life health-wise, confidence-wise and in every way.

If I can do it, Hayley can do it and so many other people could rather than risking their lives?

My 13-year-old son has been asked to go on a school cricket tour to Barbados next summer.

All exciting, exotic and chance of a lifetime - but it costs �1600.

He can go if he raises half of it, I said.

Other parents are practically accusing me of child abuse for expecting him to take responsibility for his own fund-raising.

'But he's only 13,' said one mother, aghast. And her point is?

Like most teenagers, he thinks labeled clothes and cash grow on trees. I want him to show enterprise, initiative and innovative thinking to take him into life.

He could clear out his room and sell unused stuff at a car boot sale, he could organise an event at school with some of his team mates, he could wash cars, mow lawns, walk dogs.

The list of moneymaking ideas is endless, now he has to go and do them. Or he might miss out on the chance of a lifetime because he hasn't made the effort.

Perhaps if more parents take this attitude Lord Digby Jones wouldn't be talking about starving the workshy into taking a job. No one gets something for nothing and the sooner children learn that, the better.