History recalls how great the fall can be
While everybody’s sleeping, the boats put out to sea
Borne on the wings of time
It seemed the answers were so easy to find
“Too late, ” the prophets cry
The island’s sinking, let’s take to the sky
If the first full day of campaigning in this special “Brexit Election” needed a theme tune, then what better than Fools Overture by Supertramp. Having been exposed by Lord Ashcroft as having a predilection for the band’s unique Wurlitzer prog-rock sound – many bloggers wrote that it was the worst of his sins – David Cameron might be willing to pass around a few of their CDs. Having secured the parliamentary vote to dissolve parliament, May bravely took to the skies today in the Conservative Party helicopter, to take the battle to the country, armed with little more than a few of Lynton Crosby’s reheated 2015 Election campaign slogans in her pocket.
First stop was a golf course in the village of Walmsley, near Bolton – Labour country – for a highly choreographed launch event. Flanked by eager Conservative Future campaigners in the local village hall, May began with David Cameron’s classic zinger: Remember “Britain faces a simple and inescapable choice – stability and strong Government with me, or chaos with Ed Miliband?” Well its back. “It’s a choice between strong and stable leadership under the Conservatives,” she stated, “or a weak and unstable coalition of chaos led by Jeremy Corbyn.” There was no conflict, no interaction, no fielding of questions by journalists – who were invited, but only to watch. Expect nothing more from her this campaign unless the polling turns south. At this rate, we can expect the Daily Telegraph’s obligatory “Letter from 100 Business Leaders” by the end of the week.
Called the man a fool, stripped him of his pride
Everyone was laughing up until the day he died
And though the wound went deep
Still he’s calling us out of our sleep
My friends, we’re not alone
He waits in silence to lead us all home
The introduction to Fools Overture incorporates Winston Churchill’s famous “We shall fight them on the beaches” speech, made during WWII. In fact, the whole song can be considered an allegory for how Churchill – after facing public humiliation over the 1937 Abdication crisis – came back to lead Britain to victory. It’s obvious that Jeremy Corbyn has also been listening. “This election is going to be fought on the streets of this country,” he cried out at his own campaign launch. “Up and down. In town halls, in streets, on beaches, on sea fronts.”
Corbyn was at his best: this was “Rumbustious Campaign Corbyn.” Deflecting accusations that he was part of a small London elite, he admitted that yes, many people in Islington North did buy cappuccinos every day, but that 40% of local children were living in poverty – as were the homeless. He was the “Fastest Gun in the West” claimed the Independent, but not necessarily firing live rounds – what received rapturous applause on home turf might not wash in the Wild Wests of Bolton. Given the Labour Party’s predilection over the past two years to shoot itself in the foot, it’s hard to say whether Corbyn can keep up this momentum. If we are seeing the final days of his leadership though, at least he’s not going out with a whimper. In the words of Supertramp:
So you found your solution
What will be your last contribution?
“Live it up, rip it up, why so lazy?
Give it out, dish it out, let’s go crazy,