Anorak News | Labour Hits (& Misses)

Labour Hits (& Misses)

by | 29th, September 2005

‘TONY Blair took a chance with his choice of music to herald his speech at this year’s Labour Party conference.

‘I am an anarchist…’

When the driving punk strains of Sham 69’s If The Kids Are United began to play, the temptation for Gordon Brown to pogo up and down and then flob a large greeny at his boss must have been hard to choke down for the man who would only be king if Tony would let him.

This was Sham 69, the accessibly proletarian Oi band who brought to our ears such seminal hits as Borstal Breakout, Information Libertaire (“So don’t try to tell me who I am/You’re not my Uncle Sam”) and Spunky Candy. On the face of it Hersham’s finest were less than the perfect choice to accompany the man who is, well, The Man.

But what about those lyrics? What did Tony and his in-house DJs think was in them that had anything to do with the leader and his message?

“For once in my life I’ve got something to say/ I wanna say it now for now is today,” goes the start. Only Tony says thing nearly every day, and unless we are mistaken now is always today.

“I don’t want to be rejected/ I don’t want to be denied/ Then it’s not my misfortune/ That I’ve opened up your eyes.”

Pretty clear on that point, then. Tony speaks with messianic purpose, and tough luck on us if we don’t like the truth talks. As the chorus chants, “If the kids are united, then we’ll never be divided”. So there. In your face,


But what has brought about this new tougher Tony? We know he’s coated in Teflon, but now he’s got studs and very possibly smells of glue.

Is Tony a punk at heart? Should we give him a punk name? What about Dick Smear, Matt the Talc or Jesus Vomit?

Perhaps it’s best to put things in context and see what has gone before. It’s time to take a look at how Tony has hitched his battlebus to pop music over recent years. Lower the Red Flag to half-mast, political anthems have had their day.

* When I’m 64 – Cherie Blair (2003). An apparently impromptu rendition of The Beatles’ hit. Accompanied by an almost mute Tony, Cherie sang before an audience of Chinese students at Beijing’s Tsinghua University.

* Proud – Heather Small (2003). “What have you done today, to make you feel proud?’, the song asked as Labour celebrated, er, itself.

* Lifted – Lighthouse Family (2001). Middle-of-the-road music for Mondeo Man. An appeal for steady and unspectacular progress. Job done.

* Let’s Work Together – Canned Heat (2000). Played before the Prime Minister’s party conference speech. Come on, guys, let’s sing in perfect harmony…

* All Together Now – The Farm (1999). In the 1999 Scottish elections, Labour thought it was a good idea to belt out a song about carnage in the First World War. Nice.

* Praise You – Fatboy Slim – (1999). The song, with its chorus (‘I have to praise you like I should’), was played as Tony Blair took to the Labour Party conference stage. Did anyone say “God complex”?

* Things Can Only Get Better – D:Ream (1997). Back when Tony’s grin was supported by a pair of shining eyes, voters heard the words and listened to the clear message.

But music is not only Tony’s forte. Let’s not forget those pre-Blair Labour calls to arms:

* My Guy’s Mad At Me – Tracey Ullman (1980). Former Labour leader Neil Kinnock once appeared in a pop video, sitting in a greasy-spoon cafe while Ullman sang. And the electorate winced.

* The Red Flag – Jim Connell (every year). Rise up as one and give full throat to the barely fluttering flag: “Look round, the Frenchman loves its blaze/ The sturdy German chants its praise…” Power to the people! The “real” people. Power to the Reaple!

* What If God Was One Of Us – Ugly Rumours. Tony Blair’s rock band at University never made it big.

And then there are those hits that have yet to be played as Tony speaks:

Jealous Guy – Gordon Brown

Little Lies – Fleetwood Mac

You’re So Vain – Carly Simon

Should I Stay Or Should I Go – The Clash

Kum-bay-ah – The Family Blair

So send in your suggestions for what Tony should dance to at the next four labour conferences to the usual address, or to Paul Sorene –

After all, what with Sir Cliff Richard no longer recording, British pop needs a saviour…’

Posted: 29th, September 2005 | In: Reviews Comment | TrackBack | Permalink