Gordon’s Alive?

“No Flash. Just Gordon”. A brilliant slogan which pithily encapsulates so much about Gordon Brown. It was presumably intended as a dig at Mr Brown’s predecessor – all light and no heat, flash in the pan, would you buy a used car from this man?, that sort of thing. What was the chap’s name, Blair, that’s it.

No Cash Flash Trust Gordon

It works at so many other levels, though. For many of us, Flash Gordon means Brian May’s remix of Flash’s Theme which appeared in Queen’s Greatest Hits, with Brian Blessed’s Vultan exclaiming

Gordon’s alive?

What do you picture? I see a wooden box, and a large man removing the stake through his heart at dusk to walk the earth until dawn, bringing misery and despair wherever he goes. Towns flood, cattle die of disease, and dark aliens bring indiscriminate terror.

There is a run on the banks; the transport and health infrastructure breaks down; real education becomes the preserve of an elite; the forces of law and order retreat, leaving the streets in disorder. Many are the awful signs that Gordon’s alive.

Brian May’s lyrics have more resonance than this for our times.

Flash, a-ah, saviour of the universe
Flash, a-ah, you saved everyone of us
Flash, a-ah, he’s a miracle
Flash, a-ah, king of the impossible

He’s for everyone of us
Stand for everyone of us
He saved with a mighty hand (ahhh, ah)
Every man every woman (ahh, ah)
Every child – he’s a mighty Flash (ahh, ahh, ah)

He has the potential (ahh, ah)
to be an inspirational leader at home as well (ahh, ah)
as a great statesman on the world scene.
If elected leader of the Labour Party (ahh, ah),
I’m sure that Gordon Brown will lead a dynamic and energetic government
and in doing so will ensure Labour another general election victory (a-ah, king of the impossible).

Flash, a-ah, you saved everyone of us

Could you spot the join there? The point where rock singers singing praise for the fictional hero of the action magazines changed to an extract from Gordon Brown’s campaign blog. At least Queen knew they were writing a parody, a pastiche in the style of someone who – I very much hope – does not really exist as I said of the Labour party supporter who apparently wrote the comment on the campaign blog.

It is a work of genius though, that ad. You can picture them trying to find the most succinct way of saying that Gordon Brown is different from Tony Blair. Every way they turn – the war, public services, decline of public standards, dishonesty in government – what was true of Blair is true also of Brown.

Then, suddenly:

“Blair was bit flash. I’ve got it! I’ve found the one bad thing about Blair which is not also true of Gordon”. The problem is that Blair’s flashiness was the one thing about him which one secretly admired even as one wiped the puke from one’s lips. Gordon Brown has all the rest – but no style, as the advertisers have now reminded us.

Once you start looking into Queen’s Greatest Hits, there are messages from the electorate every way you turn.

I want to break free
I want to break free from your lies, you’re so self-satisfied

I want to break free
God knows. God knows I want to break free

You could write a whole voter’s view in Queen song titles. Under pressure. I want it all. Innuendo. Its a hard life. I want to break free. I’m going slightly mad. Who wants to live for ever? Another one bites the dust.

The advertising men have missed a trick by distancing Gordon Brown from Flash Gordon:

Just a man
With a man’s courage
You know he’s
Nothing but a man
He can never fail
No-one but the pure at heart
May find the Golden Grail
Ohh, oh
Ohh, oh

There is even an eco-trendy message at the end they could have used:

Flash, Flash I love you, but we only have fourteen hours to save the Earth.

There is one problem with this Cult of the Dear Leader approach to selling New Labour. “Just Gordon”. You look at Labour’s list of people you have never heard of and people you never want to hear of again, and you realise that “Just Gordon” is a fairly good way of describing the government. Is that what the advertisers intended?

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About Chris Dale

I have been an English solicitor since 1980. I run the e-Disclosure Information Project which collects and comments on information about electronic disclosure / eDiscovery and related subjects in the UK, the US, AsiaPac and elsewhere
This entry was posted in New Labour, Politicians, Tony Blair. Bookmark the permalink.

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