29 February 2008

Tonier than thou

I saw an ad for a new savings account today. Or else it was for a new electricity company, promising a golden tomorrow, with silhouettes of people cast out of pure sky. They'd even tapped into a nostalgic song from the 60s - Jimmy Cliff's You can get it if you really want it.

Turns out it was actually advertising the Conservative Party. Sorry, The Conservatives, whose latest strategy seems to try to outflank the government by out-trendying them. Gone are the deep blue hues and traditional "concerned voter" shots of yesterday - gone even is Michael Howard's demented shopping list manifesto. Instead the new party recruitment drive was launched on Facebook, natch, a mere 12 months after everyone else discovered it.

And of course that song. Who can forget the effect of "Things can only get better" that propelled New Labour to power. Certainly not David Cameron who is determined to follow the Tony Blair blueprint to the letter, right down to the uplifting, toe-tapping, galvanising anthem. Out goes stuffy old orchestrations by Andrew Lloyd Webber, and in comes a tune from the decade that Mr Cameron's predecessors had decried as the start of our national decline. The Daily Mail, ever uncomfortable with change, hoped to find Mr Cliff to be an unsuitable role model for the new Conservative party. Imagine their disappointment when the best they could do was make the cheaper-than-Primark cheap shot that he had once played a gangster in a film.

Perhaps we can examine the song for a deeper meaning about the Conservatives' future - and the chorus that goes:

"You can get it if you really want it.
But you must try, try, try, try, try
and you'll succeed at last"

Three tries since 1997 with three leaders. Only two more to go until achieving government, then. Maybe they should have gone for another 60s song - the Rolling Stones' You can't always get what you want.

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