If ever there was any doubt of the pervasiveness of our shallow pop culture, it comes in the form of a new proposal that is set to be announced in the coming days from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, in conjunction with the Department for Transport. A friend of mine who is a civil servant in the former (who shall remain nameless) has been authorised to ‘leak’ the news that in recognition of the commercial success of the boy band, One Direction, all road systems in England and Wales (and Scotland too, if the ‘no’ campaign is successful this September) that are currently designated as “one way systems” are to be renamed as “One Direction systems”.
Initially to be piloted in the home towns of the 4 English members of the band (Bradford, Wolverhampton, Holmes Chapel and Doncaster), the plan is for a 2 year trial period followed by a roll-out across the rest of the country.
The transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, was said to have been up all night trying to think of an appropriate way to honour the success of the boy band. There had been half a heart towards merely honouring Harry Styles, by far the most famous member of the band, but to leave out the others might have given their mothers a heart attack. As one of those little things a government can do, it seemed irresistible, given the band’s widespread appeal.
Some could see it as a way to reach out to younger voters, though I am not convinced that many of their fans are old enough to vote. If it does prove to be a magic ticket for the Tories to appeal to a demographic which is not normally very pro-Conservative, then it may be a master stroke.
This blogger is not convinced by the proposals, but who knows what might change my mind. I’m not a fan of the band and I hardly think they will ever come up with the best song ever, though I think that of just about anything to come out of a talent show.