Parody remix of Clegg apology to go on iTunes

Nick Clegg gave permission Thursday for a parody remix of his public apology over university fees to go on sale on iTunes, with proceeds to go to the Sheffield's Children's Hospital.

A screenshot of British parody website The Poke on September 20. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg gave permission Thursday for a parody remix of his public apology over university fees to go on sale on iTunes, with proceeds to go to the Sheffield's Children's Hospital.

The autotuned remix of the deputy prime minister's video apology, created by satirical website The Poke (www.thepoke.co.uk), became a social media hit on Thursday morning, at one point trending on Twitter.

Clegg made the rare public apology for breaking the Liberal Democrat party's promise to block increases in university fees as he sought to claw back dwindling support on Wednesday.

In the video, the deputy prime minister said the party was sorry it didn't stick to its pledge to oppose the tuition fees rise -- a key plank of its pre-election manifesto.

Support for the centrist party fell sharply after its U-turn on the issue in 2010, which sparked huge student protests.

By Thursday morning The Poke had remixed the apology using autotune technology, turning it into a song that became so popular it briefly crashed the organisation's website.

A Twitter campaign to get the song on to iTunes was swiftly launched and within hours, Clegg had responded, tweeting: "@ThePoke Permission granted, but all proceeds to @SheffChildrens please."

His decision was praised by Twitter users, with some speculating that it would have a more positive effect on his image than the apology itself.

"I think Clegg granting permission for The Poke's spoof version of apology to be released on iTunes will do him more good than actual apology," tweeted the Metro newspaper's deputy news editor Joel Taylor.

In the original party broadcast on Wednesday, Clegg apologised for making a promise he couldn't keep, but notably stopped short of an apology for backing the hike in student fees of up to pound sterling9,000 (11,200 euros, $14,600) a year.

"We made a promise before the election that we would vote against any rise in fees under any circumstances," he said in the short video clip produced at his home in southwest London.

"But that was a mistake. It was a pledge made with the best of intentions - but we shouldn't have made a promise we weren't absolutely sure we could deliver."

He said he shouldn't have committed to such an expensive policy at a time "when there was no money around".

"There's no easy way to say this: we made a pledge, we didn't stick to it - and for that I am sorry," he added.

The apology came as a poll by Ipsos Mori shows voter satisfaction with Clegg has fallen to its lowest level ever, dropping from 31 percent to 23 percent.

It is not yet clear whether the move to allow the parody remix on to iTunes will help turn Clegg's poll ratings around.

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Writer: AFP
Position: News agency