Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Sha la la la la la la la, hey!

Take a flight to Dallas. Hire a car. Head north to Oklahoma. Go west to Texas. Pick up signs for Interstate 35. That's the f***ing way to Amarillo, OK?

Now, I got that on a text message earlier and then forwarded it to about 30 contacts of mine in Conservative politics. Half of them texted me back wondering what on earth I was on about. I wonder if this illustrates the problem the Conservative Party has at at the moment, as it shows that half of my friends have no idea which song has been at the top of the charts for the last two months.

And some of you will be reading this and scratching your heads. Are you thinking what I'm thinking?


Anonymous said...

I think that sums up ou problem. I attended the local after election party on Sunday and was about 40 years younger than the average attendee. When our PPC talked about modernising, there were a lot of confused looks about.

Editor said...

I agree, being a Burnley fan and an avid Phoenix Nights man the song is a favourite of mine. Indeed we play it as the team come out!

My first comment on the site, since the election so commiserations to you Iain. You seem to have fought a good campaign and it was intriguing to see that you riled someone enough to hack your website. I will never forget ringing your constituency office at 8.30pm on a Friday night to be the 15th person to tell you it was hacked!

I am going to do my assessment of where the party needs to go on UK Future soon, but I broadly agree with what you think. However to me it seems as though we are stuck between half a party who thinks we did ok and Labour will muck up e.g. Fox ---> they are wrong. Another half who want social liberalism and to copy New Labour but are happy to forget family values.

What happens to people like me who want to sell centre-right policies a little better, who wants a party that knows the electorate, but does not want social liberalism gone mad?!

I will be intrigued to see what David Davis plans. To be I think old school, but if he genuinely sees the need to change tone and reform the party, I cannot see much past him, but at the moment I am confused!

But hopefully I will go to my first conference this October and I will know by then!

Best wishes for your future careers and if you have any advice for a budding blogger and Conservative activist get in touch via www.ukfuture.net

James Malcolm

Anonymous said...

No, your story has very little to do with the Tories' problems. The last thing you want to do is to try to "be cool and get down with the kids". Nobody expects politicians to do that and nobody is impressed - it is like watching your Dad dance. Focus on making your policies more credible (few people believed the £35 billion thing) and nicer (ditch the poisonous anti-immigration stuff). Also present your views in a more positive way.

I know you are very keen on being "cool" Iain. But when young people in North Norfolk received your CD-ROM, what proportion do you seriously believe said, "What shall I do today - Tomb Raider III or Iain's CD-ROM? Let's go with Dale!"

Iain Dale said...

I don't think it's anything to do with being 'cool'. I just think it's about being in touch with modern Britain. And for what it is worth I had nothing but positive comments about the CD Rom, especially from the 18-25 age group, who seemed to appreciate that I was trying to do soemthing different to engage them.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps they were confused by the geographical references:

"Take a flight to Dallas. Hire a car. Head north to Oklahoma.Go west to Texas. Pick up signs for Interstate 35."

Why go North and then West, when the "road to Amarillo" from Dallas, Texas, is mostly directly North West along US-287 ?

I thought all politicians memorised the price of a loaf of white bread, of a pint of milk and the current top of the music charts, to "keep in touch with the people" ?

Or is that now the price of ciabbatta, of a Starbucks cappuccino and the top iPod mp3 download ?

Iain Dale said...

I only repeated what I got on a text message!!!!

Anonymous said...

Seriously, I think this drive to ensure every MP can hold a 5 minute conversation about Eastenders, Eminem and Sven's diamond formation is absurd and misses the point. The thing at your last conference with shadow cabinet people talking about their first kiss and the last record they bought just made people cringe.

It is just copying the worst aspects of Tony Blair. Does anyone believe he watches Coronation Street and is a serious football fan? Honestly, nobody minds if their local MP is not very interested in sport or the latest in TV, films, music and computer games. What they find creepy is if their MP pretends to be interested in such things.

Anonymous said...

FFS. I pride myself (now I think of it) on being as Tony Christie aware as the next woman on the Park & Ride omnibus. But, even having got the reference, I would have found that as a text message odd and bewildering. It’s simply a quality of joke issue. Must try harder Dale.


…whilst we are on the subject. It’s also been a matter of some incredulity for me that you managed to spend four years at UEA, at the tail end of a golden age of live music and alternative culture and come out of it a Tory who likes Cliff Richard and Meatloaf (cringe). Now that really does illustrate Tory resistance to popular culture and determined old fogey-ness at a remarkably young age.

*sniffs and turns neatly on heel*

Anonymous said...

NuLabour you are priceless!I bow to your knowledge of the roadmaps of the southern U.S.!
As regards the song I can remember it being released in 1971 and at that time thinking it was crap.Now as a middle aged balding businessmen I think it's quite good!Asign of the declining standards in our country?Personally I blame the government!
On a more serious note,I don't think it is beholden on M.P.s to appear 'cool'.Witness Blair and his embarrasing flirtation with Britpop.But it is essential that they understand the concerns of ordinairy people and then choose whether to address those concerns or not.
Blair used to be good at this ,but it his increasing arrogance which means that I believe we are now quite close to the end of his career as P.M.

Anonymous said...

Your concerns about Maude may be valid, but from my own experiences the voluntary side of the party needs a bit of robust challenging.

I write with the experience of having fought in 2001 and european elections in 2004, but selected and them promptly dumped by an association who would not have recognised the joke, the tune, or probably the existence of the charts. And they were definitely not going to have anything as common as a football stadium in one corner of the constituency, despite everyone from Michael Howard down to the local council group supporting it.

Many of our activists are made of pure gold, and have worked their socks off for me and other unworthy candidates; some however are pure poison. We have all met them. If Francis Maude can get rid of that bathwater without losing the baby, good on him!

Don't be cool - be relevant!

Stuart Penketh said...

Peter Kay lives in my ward Radcliffe North (Bury South) and voted for me in the 2004 locals, was thinking to get him to sing 'is this the way to westminster.'

Iain Dale said...

Toots, I can assure you that Cliff and Meatloaf are just the tip of a very uncool iceberg. Sparks, Howard Jones, Paul Young, Bucks Fizz. should I go on?

Anonymous said...

No,that's quite enough thanks.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunate timing Iain.
I think Amarillo was knocked off the top spot last weekend.

Andrew Ian Dodge said...

The trouble with that song is that its so amazingly ghastly. I was talking to a bunch of young Tories in West Wales and found them to most engaged. They knew what was on the charts and found most of it to be rather rubbish; at least one of them was into old Slayer, Metallica and Iron Maiden.

Another problem some Tories is a total amazement that anyone involved can have any interests outside of politics. People that live, breath and shit politics do not make good candidates.

Anonymous said...

Lagwolf - not just Tories, to be fair, but I agree for many but by no means all in all parties.

Anonymous said...

Coming in on this one quite late but I really LOVE Cliff's new single. And this is from a former rock chick who worked with the Ramones, B52's, Talking Heads and Deborah Harry. Could it be that I'm just getting old or has Iain been a pernicious influence?!

P.S. Also found myself singing along to 'Paradise by the Dashboard Light' in the office during the campaign! Aieee - there goes my street cred!