Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Sunday 29 May 2016

Britain’s Got Talent signals Brexit.

No… I’m serious.

Two and a half million people managed to cast votes for the acts on Britain’s Got Talent on Saturday night, during a sixteen minute window. If only people were that keen to cast their political votes. Had people voted in the last general election at the same rate they voted for talent show contestants, the polls could have been closed in under three hours.

The magician won Britain’s Got Talent.

I’ve got nothing against Richard Jones, personally. I’ve seen better magicians… I happen to know, personally, a better magician. I also know a little about Britain’s Got Talent and how the production team works on the acts. 

Richard Jones is in the armed forces, and he claims to love his job, but not enough to stop him pursuing his hobby and the possibility of becoming a professional showman. That’s OK, too. I don’t hold it against him. We should all be ambitious. Why not go ahead and do the thing you love, professionally. Let’s face it, my entire household income relies on precisely this phenomenon.

Richard Jones does close magic. In his original audition and his semi-final show, Jones wore a jacket. In his first audition, he didn’t even choose to wear a tie. Magicians present themselves in all kinds of ways, but practitioners of close magic generally wear a kind of uniform based around the dark suit. My magician friend sometimes wears bright accessories: a colourful tie, shoes and a hat. 

The final of Britain’s Got Talent generally gives the production team the opportunity to go a little bigger and a little better than they choose or can afford to do for other shows. Great! We all get a bit of a spectacle.

For the final, Richard Jones worked his magic while wearing his dress uniform. A man generally looks pretty impressive in uniform, and his was extremely smart, but I thought it was also unnecessarily jingoistic. Richard Jones had members of his regimental band on stage, in full regalia, and to cap it all, he wheeled out a nonagenarian serviceman/magician, who fought for his country in World War II.

The Telegraph reports on Richard Jones winning Britain's Got Talent

Mixing Richard Jones’s professional life with his hobby paid off. 

But how many members of the British public were voting for the magician and how many for the uniform and the flag? How responsible was that uniform for galvanising the masses into voting for an act that they identified with because they believed it was patriotic?

The act was sentimental, and the trick was old, but the veteran who was wheeled out to supplement the magic was ancient and affable, and he had served his country. He has a right to any amount of pride that he feels in his individual achievement; he’s earned it. Richard Jones showed us a trick, and that doesn’t earn him any national pride.

This year’s Britain’s Got Talent showcased some very impressive acts. I didn’t like all of them, and none of the three acts voted for by the public were my top picks. None of the top talents were as talented as many of the runners-up. On the other hand, I’m not the target audience for the show. I hadn’t watched Britain’s Got Talent before the dort appeared on the show two years ago, and I only watched the final this year, and only because I had a backache and the husband was doing something else.

The referendum to decide whether we will remain in the EU is lurching ever closer, and it is clearly on people’s minds. The media has covered the arguments, politicians have talked about their preferences, and patriotism has reared its head. 

If a magician can win a talent show on the strength of a sentimental story and a crisp uniform, I suspect that the Great British Public, such as it is, will vote to leave the EU.

It would appear, however, that Simon Cowell and David Walliams agree on something. They appear to agree on certain political issues, and, who knows? that might include staying in the EU.

How do I know this?

I know this, because Simon Cowell made a rather pointed remark when he was talking to the dance troupe Boogie Storm, his Golden Buzzer choice.

Boogie Storm and BGT as reported in the Telegraph

Simon Cowell said this:

We embrace people from other galaxies, and I think that we prove we have some very important decisions coming up in this country. Voting you as the winners of Britain’s Got Talent makes a very important statement.

And David Walliams added:

Wow! What an amazing point, well put.

It all looked like perfectly innocent fun… It wasn’t, and it isn’t.

We’ve been given the opportunity to vote for or against remaining in Europe. I know which way I’ll be voting. I’ve been on the losing side in almost every election I’ve voted in, but I will continue to cast my vote. I will continue to vote my conscience. 

As far as the referendum is concerned, if the results of Britain’s Got Talent are anything to go by, I’ll be on the losing side again. What troubles me more is that we’ll all be on the losing side.

And if, after all that, you fancy employing a magician to entertain you, I can recommend Adam Hoffman: