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By Charlotte Gorman
Unexplored meta-narrative of national self-affirmation skilfully taps in to our collective post-empire crisis of confidence in our “Broken British” identity.
In the face of a diminishing role on the global economic stage, the title desperately insists upon the existence and capacity of the nation’s exceptional individuals.
More than this, it constructs a radically new model of status in which the value of a nation is measured by the number of YouTube hits its citizens receive rather than on military prowess.
Susan Boyle is the redcoat of the globalised world.
In the international acclaim poured on the unshaven contestant from West Lothian with the voice of an angel, there was arguably a momentary restoration of a global empire – albeit one based on surfing the net rather than ruling the waves.
How apt that Susan Boyle should hail from West Lothian, the rhetorical paradigm for tensions within the Union.
As well as projecting national pride externally, the conspicuous foregrounding of “Britain” in Britain’s Got Talent attempts to heal internal divisions.
The programme’s prominent display of the union flag provides a banner under which the UK’s constituent nations can unite, and the prize is the chance to perform for that ultimate symbol of stability – the Royal family.
Regional colour is reflected in the involvement of jovial Geordies Ant and Dec.
The method of choosing the winner represents the next progression in the country’s extension of the franchise; it is nothing less than the democratisation of the fame industry.