Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has revealed that the change in his parties stance on raising tuition fees came about after a plastic ‘shag band’ he was wearing was snapped by a senior Tory aide during a break in Prime Minister’s question time.
‘I was wearing a yellow ‘go back on your promise to party members’ band,’ a penitent Clegg told BBC Political Correspondent Iain Watson. ‘I was about to grab a sandwich when up Michael Gove’s assistant, who snatches my band and breaks it off. I had no choice but to comply – failure to do so would have had dire consequences – I mean, look what happened to David Laws.’
The craze for so-called Shag Bands has caused a storm of controversy in recent months after it emerged that the cheap plastic wristbands, normally worn by naive and impressionable schoolchildren (who must supposedly carry out whatever act the colour of the band signifies once it is broken), have infiltrated Britain’s parliamentary system. However many have dismissed this as mere scare-mongering by tabloid newspapers. ‘Shag bands are just a fad, and as such will fade away once the novelty value among MPs wears off,’ said one socio-political commentator. ‘Just like that socialism nonsense the Labour party got into a while back.’
Other experts, including presenter and columnist Andrew Marr, are not so sure: ‘Shag bands have been around for a lot longer than people realise. As far back as the 1930s Neville Chamberlain regularly wore a pink ‘appease the Nazis’ band to diplomatic talks, while in the 80’s, no self-respecting cabinet member went around without several ‘impregnate your researcher’ or ‘get yourself on the board of a recently privatised utility company’ bands around their wrists. Jeffrey Archer could barely move his arm the amount he used to wear.’
Marr also alludes that Clegg’s experience is not a new one among his near-contemporaries: ‘He’s not alone by any stretch of the imagination. Rumour has it that Tony Blair wore a brown shag band during his first visit to the Whitehouse. Accounts of what transpired are vague, but suffice to say that the two leaders emerged with a shared determination to change the regime in Iraq – and a slight limp in Blair’s case.’