Does a Tory liking your band ruin it for you?


Does a Tory liking your favourite band ruin it for you?
Does a Tory liking your band ruin it for you?

There you are at a gig. You are in the moshpit. It’s getting a bit leary down there. It could be any gig, lets say a Smiths reformed gig in a couple of years time and to your left jumping up and down furiously, arms flailing out of time with the song, singing along but missing out some of the more contentious lyrics and with his ruddy cheeks flushed with excitement is Diddy David Cameron.

Is that the moment the magic evaporates?

In the old days you knew where you stood. The Tory boys liked Spandau Ballet- the only band in pop history to look like a Conservative PArty cabinet meeting. It was assumed that the Tories just liked rubbish music and that they would not get their well manicured hands onto any of ‘our’ bands.

No-one is sure when this all started, Margaret Thatcher’s favourite song was ‘how much is that doggie in the window’, but then to truly love music properly you need some kind of heart and there was no evidence that she had one. There had been sightings of Tory’s liking less rubbish stuff, usually they were treated as freaks, loners in the corner of the young Conservative party shindigs mumbling about indie records to no-one in particular.

The furore that greeted David Cameron coming out and talking about his love of the Smiths was proof that the Nasty Party was still a toxic brand in the eyes of the music fan. the dad dancing stiffness of the blue rinse mob seemed along way from the innate cool of the band and it was felt that this could well be some sort of PR job to make Diddy David look like he was down with ‘the kids’ although by the time he admitted his love for the band the kids were all in their forties as well.

His favourite Smiths album is ‘The Queen Is Dead’, when asked about the title he smirked awkwardly- can’t imagine him taking that one round to Buckingham Palace.

It was no surprise to find out that he was, in reality, a Phil Collins fan and you can easily imagine him air drumming along whilst pouting those thin lips with the mighty Phil in his well upholstered chambers at Oxbridge.

Checking the lyrics doesn’t seem to come into it. Cameron also loves the Jam classic ‘Eton Rifles’ a song about a rights to work march getting attacked outside Eton- the school he went to! We’re All In It Together!

Last year I met Ed Vaizey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport and asked him what music he was into, I was expecting something a bit beyond Spandau Ballet but I was floored when he said ‘my favourite band was an obscure band from the eighties you may not know called The Redskins…’

The Redskins were the radical socialist skinhead band fronted by ex NME journalist X Moore, surely those lyrics must have meant something? Ed just laughed- famously the ‘ok one from the Tory Party’ his music taste was a bit of a leap over the barricades.

But does all this matter? who owns the music anyway? does it matter if a left leaning band has right leaning fans and does anyone listen to the lyrics anyway?
Of course the journey can sometime be the other way round like when we step into their world- like when Louder Than War got mentioned in Hansard…

Top 13 anti Margaret Thatcher songs

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. […] he can still like Gillian Welch if David Cameron “has tapped his Tory toe to it” and John Robb on Louder than War imagining David Cameron getting all sweaty in the moshpit at a Smiths’ […]

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