Ed Miliband loving ‘Angels’? How prole!
What is Ed Miliband’s greatest crime? Perhaps it is stabbing his own brother in the back to win the Labour Party leadership. Maybe, as energy and climate change secretary, it was his successful steering of the Climate Change Act through parliament, a law of face-palming stupidity that commits the UK to irrational carbon-emissions cuts and which none of today’s generation of politicians will be around to take responsibility for. Perhaps it’s just his standing as a leading light of the new breed of principle-free, never-had-a-real-job political leaders.
But no. Apparently his greatest crime was revealed yesterday when he chose ‘Angels’ by Robbie Williams as one of his eight songs to be cast away with on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. The Twitterati were out in force in disgust. ‘My respect for Ed Miliband has plummeted. No one who likes “Angels” can be allowed to be Prime Minister’, tweeted one. ‘Wow, just when you think politicians couldn’t sink any lower in your estimations’, wrote someone in a Guardian comment. There was plenty more of that kind of thing, along with many tedious repetitions of a pun about his Marxist father. (He’s loving Engels instead! Geddit?)
Really? This is it? This is the thing really moves people to abuse Miliband? As it happens, ‘Angels’ is a perfectly nice song. Not personally one I would take to a desert island and one which has been massively overplayed (and drunkenly slaughtered at too many karaoke nights) down the years. But it’s still a pretty decent tune, hence its popularity. Back in 2005, it was voted the most popular choice by people to have played at their funerals and also the greatest song never to have reached No.1 in the charts (it peaked at No.4, despite being Robbie’s career-saving and most popular song).
But that’s the real problem with ‘Angels’: it’s just so damn popular. How can anyone dare to put themselves forward as prime minister when he has such, you know, mass tastes? It’s just so Tesco, so X Factor, so microwavable ready meal. Never mind that he appears to have a personal (if slightly lame) story about why it means a lot to him. Descending to the tastes of the masses is a step too far.
But really, would we rate Miliband more highly if he had better taste in music? The Tory prime minister, David Cameron, apparently likes The Smiths – admittedly, a much better choice than Mr Williams – but there’s plenty of good reasons to despise his policies even if he shares a common love with middle-aged indie kids for warbling ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ in the shower.
In truth, liking ‘Angels’ is just about the only thing ‘Red Ed’ has ever had in common with the people he is supposed to represent.
Rob Lyons is associate editor at spiked.
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