Coming soon: the Liberal Democrat music collection

Acoustic guitar

Image by Firmbee from Pixabay.

The creation of custom songs used to be a big part of political campaigns a century and more ago. The musical needs of campaigns then morphed into political advertising jingles, such as the ‘I like Ike’ musical refrain used by Roy Disney, nephew of Walt, for Dwight Eisenhower’s successful 1952 US presidential campaign.

In the second half of the twentieth century, however, instead of commissioning campaign songs, campaigns increasingly looked to sign up music stars for their personal endorsements and to put on concerts of their own songs to attract people to events.

The Liberal Party’s flirtations with music have not all left happy memories. Jeremy Thorpe posing with Jimi Hendrix produced some memorable photographs but they were best forgotten when his leadership was ended by scandal a few years later. The Young Liberal’s disc The Liberal Song didn’t trouble the charts in the 1960s, possibly let down by its B side: ‘A message from Jo Grimond’.

But more recently, the rise of campaign videos, often ‘home produced’ by an individual campaigner on a smartphone, means an increasing need for little jingles. So too with the rise of Zoom calls and online conferences, where good hold music is suddenly in demand once again.

The best political music of course is not only in tune but also on message. Which is why an album of Liberal Democrat music is being readied for launch. It will have everything from three second jingles to use at the end of a local campaign video to 10 minute compositions for use during breaks in online conferences.

Many of the tracks will be variations on the classic pop hit, YMCA, which the party has acquired rights to thanks to a kind gift from a supporter. A producer for the original hit video, he had legacy rights to song and has gifted them to the party after being impressed by the work of the newly elected Lib Dem councillors in his village since the May 2019 elections. Soon after a decade-old set of potholes had been fixed in his road, by chance he caught on YouTube Rory Bremner’s old Village People/Paddy Ashdown spoof, triggering the thought of gifting these rights to us.

As a result of the news about this classic song, the Federal Policy Committee (FPC) is being asked to prioritise the development of policies that can be given four letter acronyms and so promoted through rewritten versions of YMCA.

The existing UBI working group is also now working on a new, one-third longer, nickname for the policy, such as a citizen’s universal basic income, CUBI, which will allow an upbeat set of lyrics, setting out a positive vision for the future such as:

It’s fun to live on the CUBI
It’s fun to live on the CUBI

You can get yourself clean, you can have a good meal
You can do whatever you feel

Young human, are you listening to me?
I said, young human, what do you want to be?
I said, young human, you can make real your dreams

But you got to know this one thing
No human does it all by himself

I said, young human, put your pride on the shelf
And just go there, vote for the CUBI
Before the polls close at 10 p.m.

It’s fun to live on the CUBI
It’s fun to live on the CUBI

Liberal Democrats for Electoral Reform are also working on possible new names for the Single Transferable Vote (STV) that would also fit the four letter acronym model. Expect some intense debate on whether to roll in support for electronic voting by making it e-STV.

In order to coordinate all this activity, a new subcommittee, the Federal People Development Song Approval Subcommittee (FPDSAS), is being created to give appropriate strategic oversight to the musical direction of the party. Its first chair will be Councillor Loof Lirpa.

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One response to “Coming soon: the Liberal Democrat music collection”

  1. And here was I hoping that we would get the Liberator collective singing their greatest hits from the Glee Club songbook.

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