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Home > Politics

Surveyjism: Parliament Rox!

31 July 2006

Picture the scene. A sluggish Guns'n'Roses, battered by years of bad luck and worse hair implants, are failing to mollify a rumbling New Wembley crowd. Slash is long since gone, Buckethead has taken his pail elsewhere. Axl Rose, linen-napkin skin pulled trampoline-tight over sharp cheekbones, is struggling to remember the words to 'Sweet Child O'Mine', while the butter-fingered guitarist is arsing up the scorching riff. The capacity crowd bubbles with anarchy, muted boos growing. Suddenly, a shoe sails over. It catches Axl smack in the bandana, and down he goes. The rest of the band down tools and flee as the first wave of incensed ticket-holders pour angrily over the barrier. But then! A confident figure strides onto the stage, grabs the mike and yells: 'Wembley! Did you come here to get rocked?'

The ungoverned crowd stop in their tracks. What the...?

'I said, DID YOU COME HERE TO GET ROCKED?!!?' hollers Conservative MP Damian Green, cape fluttering in the breeze. No one calls him to order - he's *way* beyond that.

'YES!'

'Well, c'mon, Lembit, let's give 'em what they paid (an extortionate amount comparable in fact to council tax rates) for!'

A mighty C bursts from Opik's Les Paul and the crowd scream in delight...

Alas, it's never going to happen. The best we have to offer in its place is the bald and pointless guff of a British Library survey into MPs' favourite albums. The inter-party stadium blowout of our dreams will have to remain, sadly, in our dreams. So, to the results: politicians like The Beatles, Led Zep and The Sex Pistols. Or at least, that's what their advisors tell them they like.

The British Library have been rather cruel dangling the bait of credibility here. MPs will leap blindly at the chance to prove how cool they are, forgetting The First Law of Cool: any actual *attempt*, by any individual or collective, to 'be cool' results in disqualification faster than a pro-cyclist chock-full of dope. Cool requires the kind of dissolute lack of effort - a scorn of the very *concept* of effort - that MPs in a supposed meritocracy are forced to deplore. So the poor fools toddle off to the media slaughterhouse like lambs in oversized sunglasses. Or perhaps they know perfectly well that they're going to look like prannocks whether they claim to love the Arctic Monkeys (hello Gordon), Swing Out Sister (sack that Tory berk Mark Field immediately), or the Human League (hello Mr Oaten, kudos for avoiding choosing anything by Anal Cunt). But it's all publicity, all grist to the mill (what were they thinking? They wanted to be florists), and really there's little option. Either way, it's a sweetly awful parade of MPs talking about the music they love. It's about the same flavour of wrong as imagining your parents fucking.

The overall favourite among the bench-warmers was 'Led Zeppelin II'. But, hey, wait, isn't that full of drugs (illegal) and sex (might as well be) and people having their tumescent sexual organs cast in Plaster of Paris by a woman called Cindy? Why, yes it is. But that doesn't put off Lib Dem Lembit Opik, who enthused 'They created a genre many have copied but no one has equalled. And "Whole Lotta Love" is the greatest rock song ever.' Tory Damian Green agreed: 'The opening riff is straightforward perfection.' As opposed to wonky perfection of course, but what are they actually saying here? Again, it's, 'We're not quite as stuffy as you might think, you know.' The thing is, MPs can't *possibly* be as stuffy as we think they are. It just suits us to see them as the beige-bots their insane job forces them to appear as. This is why the shrieks whenever one of them is caught doing something iffy are so shrill; it's such an enjoyable, absurd contrast to the pantomime stuffed-shirts we all know and hate.

We rather like to think that they must *be* their job all the time, whereas they're probably as demob-happy as the rest of us when they're let out. They indulge in sexual role-play. They get pissed. They curse like Gordon Ramsey in a dock. They're only human. Only whenever they try to prove it, it just seems to prove the opposite to us - that they're merely cynically aping the mannerisms of the rest of us, trying to get us onside by behaving like some clumsy chum in the pub, clapping us on the back with excruciatingly awkward heartiness, shouting 'Drinks all round! Can I tempt you with a dry sherry?'.

We just don't trust the swine to be *real*. And it's all their own fault for living such a fib in their day jobs. How do we know if Tessa Jowell really does love 'Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band', or if Welsh Secretary Peter Hain genuinely goes gaga over the corpulent Manic Street Preachers' betrayal-of-original- ideals disc 'This Is My Truth, Tell Me Yours'? Obviously we don't actually care whether they like them or not, or whether they plug themselves into the mains to recharge instead of sleeping; we're just having another cruel snigger at their expense.

So, Michael 'Fucking' Howard chose 'The White Album'. Well, he's got nothing left to prove. George Galloway went predictably for Dylan's 'Blood on the Tracks', when it would have been funnier than a grown man pretending to be a cat if he'd picked, say, 'For Those About To Rock, We Salute You(r Indefatigability)'.

Finally, disturbingly, Labour MP Greg Pope chose 'Never Mind The Bollocks' (the title primly st**red out by the Guardian website, as if its readers don't shout 'Oh *bollocks*' every time they read Charlotte Raven). This is wrong. He did say 'It changed the face of music forever and meant we never had to listen to Boney M again,' which is true enough, but MPs aren't allowed to like the anti-establishment profanity and posturing of the Pistols. Certainly not Labour MPs, given that it was that whole Callaghan-era 'winter of discontent' stuff that haemorrhaged punk in the first instance. But it could have been worse - he could have chosen Boney M.



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