Culture

Don’t Stop, Tusk, Oh Diane – Fleetwood Mac and other bands who could theme the 2017 Election

Music for party political campaigns remains a tricky business

BY John McKie   /  21 April 2017

What have you done today to make you feel proud?

It’s a good question. What a blessing for us all that Heather Small asked it in the first place.

It’s such a good question Tony Blair used the song for a Labour Party conference in a period sandwiched between his work with Lord Levy and the President of Kazakhstan.

Music for party political campaigns remains a tricky business. John Major probably got it right when he used Purcell’s Rondo from his Abdelazer Suite, as the lyrics of an instrumental can’t be misinterpreted.

Even the use of Splodgenessabounds’ Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps Please will result in inconvenient grilling around duty on alcohol and snacks at the next Budget.

If you are going to use music from the last 50 years, Bill Clinton’s adoption of Fleetwood Mac’s Don’t Stop (expecting Peter Green-era Mac is asking a lot) seemed to work. After all, as scandal around Bill and Hillary circled in 1992, what says “Happy Marriage” better than a track from Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours.  The 2016 choice for his wife, Katy Perry’s Roar was not so successful.  Roar is widely thought to be a song about getting over Russell Brand. Even across the pond, Russell Brand associations are Electoral Kryptonite. Just ask Ed Miliband.

President Trump’s campaign was really when the campaign song felt like an unwanted stepchild.

He used anthems from Twisted Sister, R.E.M., Aerosmith, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen and The Rolling Stones. All artists in various forms issued some sort of cease and desist. Sad!

Trump opted for these ahead of the more obvious options, Queen’s I’m Going Slightly Mad, Sting’s Russians or anything from “Weird” Al Yankovic’s ninth studio album, Bad Hair Day.

While the idea of some politicians using similar artists is best avoided (if Angela Eagle had used Twister Sister when running for Labour leader, she could have faced awkward questions at the next family gathering from Maria), the main parties only have seven weeks to soundtrack their own rallies.

In the spirit of helpfulness and in an effort to avoid The Lighthouse Family’s Lifted – another selection from Blair, the man who promised Things Could Only Get Better – here are some suggestions for the main parties:-

Conservative Party: Theresa May won’t do TV debates, press conferences, flesh out an in-depth manifesto or post-Election Brexit strategy beyond sound bites.  On the basis that anything by Disclosure can be ruled out, the Tories’ theme tune might have to be Can’t Explain by The Who.

Labour Party: One look at their leader might lead you to believe the Steptoe and Son theme tune is the go-to theme. One look at their poll ratings leads you to The Surfaris’ Wipeout. Other options include Martin Stephenson and the Daintees’ Boat to Bolivia, anything from the Sandinista album, Fleetwood Mac (them again) with Oh Diane, Paul McCartney’s Give Ireland Back to the Irish and in honour of Mr. Corbyn’s charming habit of taking lieu for weekend work and his enormous contribution to the EU debates of two whole speeches, Dolly Parton’s anthem, working 9 to 3 (with an hour for lunch). Failing that, there’s always UB40 – the half of the band who are supporting him.

Liberal Democratic Party: in honour of The Donald in politics they like,  an obvious choice would be yet another Fleetwood Mac track, Tusk

Scottish National Party: It would be cruel and petty to suggest Fandabidozee by The Krankies but perhaps more useful to suggest the interminable Loch Lomond by Runrig. The SNP MP and former Runrig keyboard player Pete Wishart likes to rail against everything that irritates him, particularly journalists. Once nine minutes of Runrig is piped through every public square and town hall of Scotland, and there’s an inevitable call to ban it, we can see how he likes them apples.

UKIP: It’s tempting to pay tribute to their previous leader Nigel Farage with Lionel Richie’s epic ballad, You’re Once, Twice, Seven Times A Loser. But we must move with the times (even if this party doesn’t) and find a theme for their imaginative new leader Paul Nuttall. Could be time for Kirsty MacColl’s classic There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis (And Lost Close Friends at Hillsborough).


         

         

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