In the context of recent posts on 'peak oil', consider the following statistics and make up your own minds:
1. Approximately 19.1 million people in the UK watched the final of X factor on TV on Sunday 13th December (see Marketing Week, December 2009) - that is 31 % of the estimated population of the UK (approx 61.4 million, Guardian, August 2009).
2. Approximately, 15, 000 participants (from a 192 nations) and onlookers are estimated to be involved in the Copehagen UN talks on climate change between 7th and 18th December (this is not counting the estimated 6, 500 police officers drafted in to supervise the event, or the anticipated 350 potential troublemakers for whom the Danes have set up steel cages, or the potential 1000 protestors who could be processed over a period of 24 hours in a former Carlsberg beer depot) (see New York Times, December 2009) - that is 0.02% of the estimated population of the UK.
What are the objections to this jusxtaposition of statistics?
- X factor has nothing to do with politics - we're making a false comparison
- The representatives at the UN conference are doing a job for which we elected them - to represent us, so we don't actually have to be there in person
- We can enjoy our free time how we please - it's a free country
But think about this: who is taking what seriously? And whom should one take seriously? We should say: HUMANKIND, BLOODY WAKE UP!
Think about the whole issue of voting folks. According to last years figures, 16, 469, 064 votes were placed throughout the entire Series 5 of X-Factor. We haven't had the full figures for this year, although we know that the winner received 63% of the total votes cast on the night.
Now consider that in the last general election in 2005, 27, 110, 727 votes were cast (44% of the population). The winning Labour party received 35% of these votes.
Where are people when the voting really matters? Does voting matter at all? Perhaps we're all much too spoilt and self-satisfied to be bothered...
Imagine if the millions watching X-Factor last Sunday night had gathered instead in pockets at the Town Halls of the major towns and cities in the country, in honour of the UN climate change talks; imagine the impact that might have had...
Or perhaps these are just the vain fantasies of idealists - perhaps we should be grateful that the plebiscite didn't turn out in their droves in case they had to be taken in and locked up in 'bird cages' similar to those constructed for the protestors in Copenhagen!
Or perhaps we should use the same argument for X-Factor as people use to shut up extremist parties like the BNP: just giving it the time of day is to acknowledge its importance, so don't do it.
Oh dear. But don't you see that at some point we just have to give these things the time of day; we just have to think about them and then decide what to do.