This weekend I’m back in Sheffield staying at my parent’s house. Whilst making breakfast (or more like brunch really) I found myself listening to Amanda, the woman behind Fancie – a beautiful cupcake shop on Sharrow Vale Road, Sheffield which has been visited by the likes of Pamola Faith and featured in Vogue magazine. Amongst all the talk of glitter toppings, the name of Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg was mentioned causing my ears to prick up a little more. How could cupcakes and politics possibly be related? Amanda went on to explain how back in May 2010 (wow that feels like a long time ago now) Mr Clegg had made a cupcake order and proceeded to give the cakes out to journalists and passes by on Election Day outside his constituency home. Perhaps Nick Clegg, like myself, believed that after all the media exposure and growing popularity from the first televised leaders debate, Election Day would be the icing on the cake for the Liberal Democrat party. As it turns out, many Liberal Democrats found their hopes dashed and for the following week or so suffered from post-election blues.
Still, the profile of the Liberal Democrats has undoubtedly risen thanks to the coalition. Although the party is currently suffering from a recession in terms of member support, in the long term, publicity and more people just being aware of the party can only lead to a boom. Those who have been Liberal Democrat members for years will be aware that Nick Clegg and his team are a master of the little touches that count. On 6th May 2010, perhaps his little touches will have gone unnoticed among most people but as conference season looms I think we will all be seeing a lot of what Nick Clegg has to offer and it will be much more than cupcakes! Channel 4’s political editor, Garry Gibbon, for example, offers some of the things that the Deputy PM has up his sleeve for the coming months in his blog. Recently, Nick Clegg may have been concentrating solely on getting the coalition fired up but he won’t let his members feel isolated and ignored. He’ll find a way of showing his members that he is there for them on a level independent of the coalition.
We live in a society of pretty politics – sweetened up by celebrities and cupcakes. The Conservatives have celebrities and high profile donors, the Labour Party have the Trade Unions. The Liberal Democrats have no one but their wholesome selves. Maybe just maybe this is all we need (along with a little help from the media – so keep bribing them with those cakes Nick!)