Chris Knox had a good piece in the Dom Post today explaining why he wrote Labour’s new campaign song. Here’s an extract:
Good grief! I’ve gone and written a campaign song for a mainstream political party!
Could I possibly be the same Chris Knox who has consistently railed against all forms of conformity, intellectual blandness and political complacency over the last three decades or so?
The same oft-glib songbird who wrote, in Tall Dwarfs’ Turning Brown and Torn in Two:
“People who govern are strangers to me
And I’m a stranger to them, too
Presumably they don’t know you
That’s why they do the job they do”
and meant it, way down deep?
Well, that was 1983 when National, under Robert Muldoon, held the reins of power and had done so for what seemed like most of a lifetime. Still, my cynicism of the time about politics and politicians was only exacerbated by David Lange’s betrayal of basic Leftist principles and the ensuing years of Rogernomics and Ruthenasia, a devastating time for this country and its people.
This cynicism has since evolved into scepticism – a healthier and more rigorous place in which one’s prejudices may pickle – as several years of Labour Party dominance has erased the worst of these ugly excesses and – slowly, always slowly – brought sanity and the sheer simplicity of fairness back into the mix.
Which is not to say I’m a Labour Party member or even necessarily a Labour voter. I am not the former and generally the latter only when there is no viable party to their Left to whom I might gift my blessed vote. I loved it when The Alliance was at full strength.
So why write and perform a song for this mob?
Because I cannot stand the new centrist, “Trust us” face of the National Party. They are Hollow Men – yes, I’ve read the book and would urge all of you to do so, seldom has history been so close to the source and the moment – and I don’t believe for a second that leader John Key will shuck off his big business pals to embrace the Labour Lite statements of intent that they’ve been shoving at the soundbite crews of late.
Read the full story of why the lyrics to “Way Better!!” don’t make this (not self-styled) Kiwi icon cringe.