Put a sock in it, Paloma

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill
chief political writer

Topics Culture

Oh God, now they’re writing songs about how stupid we are. Not content with slamming Leave voters in columns, court cases, essays, books and an hourly tsunami of tweets, now bitter Remainers are singing their hatred for us lowly little people who have committed the crime of holding a different political view to theirs. They really do think that’s a crime. ‘I’ve been a criminal / I’ve made a mistake’, as Paloma Faith sings in her new anti-Brexit song, ‘Guilty’, in which she adopts the persona of one of us disgusting Leavers.

Yes, this is the news that Faith, English singer of retro, forgettable white-girl soul, has released a ditty about how idiotic the demos is, finally providing a tune that AC Grayling can tap his toes to as he has his public meltdown on Twitter (get a room, Anthony!) and which The New European can play at its Christmas do as its staff get drunk on French plonk (naturally) and their sense of superiority over the heaving throng. According to an excitable BBC – always happy when its stiff establishment prejudices are given the sprinkle of pop-culture respectability – ‘Guilty’ is a ‘lacerating ballad about the Brexit vote’. Yeah, right. It’s a Guardian editorial made music, which is as awful as it sounds.

Taking every elite prejudice about bovine voters and bundling them up into a ballad-by-the-numbers, Faith adopts the persona of the regretful Leaver (the smart set – who aren’t very smart – are obsessed with this incredibly rare creature). This Leaver, like the rest of us low-lifes who said No to the EU, ‘believed in the fictional… thought the alternative looked so crystal clear’ and basically ‘drowned in muddy waters’. We’re so dumb! To drive the point home, the video for the song features mind-enslaved children escaping a barking demagogue and running away into a forest. Those children are Leavers (nice) and the horrible bloke who once controlled their minds is probably Farage or someone. Subtle, Paloma.

She goes on, ‘I have shattered your dreams… I thought I would be okay without you’, and then you realise that, dear God, she’s singing to the EU! I’m so embarrassed for her. Imagine penning a mournful ballad for such a foul, undemocratic, banks-before-workers institution. Bring back the Sex Pistols. ‘The one thing I’m good at is messing up somebody else’, she sings – that’s the only thing Leavers can do, apparently! – and then she emits the crazed cry of the tragic Remainer: ‘Please take me back.’ Look, I love a good ballad in which a sad bloke or teary-eyed girl pleads for a lover to take them back; but one in which a depressed Remainer pleads for the EU to take back us Brits? I’m squirming.

The thing is, if the song was good, all this dross would be forgivable (I love Michael Jackson’s ‘Earth Song’ despite its high levels of eco-cack). But it isn’t. Which makes the snooty lyrical Leaver-bashing all the more grating. Remember when soulful girl singers sang about love or sex or booze rather than parroting the prejudices of the pained and increasingly spiteful middle-class media set? I wish Amy was still with us.

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked.

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