Last night, someone asked me if I’d heard the Labour Christmas record.
“You mean “JC for PM for Me?” I asked.
“No, the one Jarvis, Rayner and McDonagh have done about workers rights.”
“Oh my God no! I must hear this immediately.”
“It’s way worse than you think.”
“Worse than “JC for PM for Me”?”
“A million times worse.”
And that is so true. It’s sung to the tune of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” – in fact, it’s really more like a Labour conference karaoke session, seeing as how they are singing over the actual original backing track (lent to them by Midge Ure).
The first line is “Christmas is hard – on the national minimum wage”. If you’re trying to fit this over the Band Aid song and are having trouble scanning it, relax, you couldn’t have done worse than the Labour MPs involved managed. The new, 2016 version of the song is now about retail workers getting a bum deal. Now, I don’t want to sound like I don’t care about the plight of British retail workers – I’m sure everything the song says about what’s happening to them is roughly true – but did these Labour MPs really think it was such a great idea to take a song that was originally about starvation in civil war torn eastern Africa and then lays lines like “No legacy pay, just more unsocial hours” and “Keep their perks!” over top? It has the double effect of making the hardships faced by retail workers seem not so bad when compared to famine (in other words, the exact opposite of the intended effect of the Labour MPs version) and making you feel like substituting lines about “Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears” with stuff about having to do double time on Sundays is probably in poor taste.
Several companies are directly named in the lyrics as well: B&Q, Tesco and Waitrose; John Lewis, Caffe Nero and Eat. I don’t know why these six in particular – weren’t there any offenders whose corporate brand would at least complete the rhyme? Anyhow, given Labour have had great success with naming and shaming companies in the past, it seems like a great idea to repeat the trick. Next Labour conference, no one from the business world will come at all, job done.
If you want to see for yourself (there’s a video, of course), you can watch it here. Look out for Dan Jarvis looking particularly regretful for having agreed to take part. This is one more clip to add in to the collection in my head I’m keeping for the eventual documentary, “The Strange Death of the Labour Party”, which will be completed in 2027, right after the last Labour MP in parliament loses a by-election to the newly rebranded National Front in Darlington. Happy Christmas, everyone.