Wednesday, May 05, 2010


General Election Pop Anthem Special

The General Election looms tomorrow. Knackered? Footsore? Your brain turning to cheese at repeating that you agree with Nick’s Four Fairnesses seventy-three times a day? Then here are three songs to perk you up. They’re all from the 1990s – no, not Things Can Only Get Better; too much like intruding on private grief – and include, for me, the ’90s’ two greatest pop anthems. The first is foot-stompingly Liberal; the second, a total fake (and not quite the proper song, either); the third wasn’t a big hit, but it’s difficult to find a bigger hitting out at the Labservatives.

I’ve been horribly ill throughout the campaign, but today lifted my spirit if not my body with some music. In a strange way, it was inspired by this week’s Doctor Who DVD release, The Creature From the Pit, David Fisher’s witty novelisation of which has just by remarkable timing has just been broadcast over the last week on BBC7, read by Tom Baker (the final part’s tonight at half-midnight, but you can still catch most of it on iPlayer or, of course, buy the CD). No – I’m afraid none of the songs are about giant green blobs, but a point for each of the two key Liberal messages in the story, and a further one for which well-known Kate Bush single it made me think of, and why. This afternoon, then, I staggered to bed in horrible pain and curled up with Kate to sing me to sleep. While dozing, I remembered her fabulous, bonkers but politically unsuitable anthem Ken, which got me thinking of political songs, while Kate in general got me thinking of the wonderful ’90s Doctor Who New Adventures and their obligatory Kate Bush song titles. That collision in my brain demanded ’90s political anthems… So here they are.

The Levellers – One Way

I doubt the Levellers have any party affiliation, but if there’s any finer anthem that sums up Liberalism for me, I haven’t heard it (that techno remix of The Land having failed to chart). Where Labour and Tories want to give you goodies if you fit into their precise definition of a good life, and punish you if you don’t, Liberals think the government can’t know best for you, because everyone’s best is different. Who’s the only party backing a Freedom Bill to sweep away many of Labour’s bossy, vindictive, stupidly timewasting 4,300 new laws? Who’s the only party that wants to give a large tax cut to the vast majority of people, however they choose to live their lives, rather than the Tories’ bribe to people in the right sort of marriages and massive tax break for double millionaires? I agree with Jonathan Calder and – like Simon Goldie – I agree with Nick. Vote Liberal Democrat, and sing along! Or not, according to taste.

David Cameron – Common People

This is mean – though not remotely unfair – and isn’t a patch on proper Pulp. It does, however, make a point, and made me laugh.

Chumbawamba – Amnesia
“Do you suffer from long-term memory loss?”
I know that it’s very on-message to talk about the hopes people had for New Labour back in 1997, and certainly, by comparison to the Conservatives today, Tony Blair had a wild storm of optimism around him. But, bitter old git that I am, I always loathed him – I thought he was a Tory from the word go, and though “I told you so” is never an appealing line, I’m not standing for election tomorrow, so I’ll point out that I did indeed tell people so. I said it at my count on election night 1997 (where I stood hand in hand with my beloved Richard on the stage, on the telly – yay!), coming an heroic third in a Labour-Tory marginal, an unemployed Lib Dem against a Labour millionaire. After congratulating her on her win, I warned everyone in the hall (in the sort of barnstorming speech I so rarely get the chance to make) that Labour would let them all down and be exactly like the Tories. I was shrieked and howled down by Labour – as committed to free speech as ever. Of course, I wasn’t entirely right: in so many ways, Labour’s thirteen years have been so much worse than the Tories. So Chumbawamba’s song here greatly appealed to me, though it wasn’t in tune with the times and I was just about the only person who bought it.

Labour? Tory? Just the same. If you’re thinking of voting for either tomorrow – just how overwhelming is your amnesia?

Or there’s the thing Newsnight got Right Said Fred to do, but there’s nothing sadder than a commissioned pop anthem, is there?

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Glad to see you at least well enough to blog. Am *seriously* worried for you, and hope you get well.

I always loathed Blair too, and also told people so...
Thanks, Andrew - I appreciate it. Wish I was up to blogging the dozen top election pieces in my head!

Just for fun, when last night I attempted to take a tiny bit of pressure off Richard by doing a minor bit of housework (emptying the bins), I somehow managed to twist my back, so today's been agony, on top of all the usual. Hey ho. But to cheer us both up, why not have a go at my obscure politics / Who / pop trivia questions above? ;)
And thanks to Andy for alerting me to the Labservative re-election anthem. Somehow, it doesn’t stir me ;)
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