Song assailing PM May No. 2 on UK chart

The song Liar, Liar by Captain Ska lampoons British Prime Minister Theresa May (above) for her perceived political flip-flopping.
The song Liar, Liar by Captain Ska lampoons British Prime Minister Theresa May (above) for her perceived political flip-flopping.PHOTO: CAPTAIN SKA/YOUTUBE

LONDON • The song has a catchy chorus and a not-so-subtle message.

"She's a liar, liar. She's a liar, liar. You can't trust her, no, no, no, no," it goes, accompanied by snippets of its target, British Prime Minister Theresa May, variously laughing, speaking earnestly and, in one heavily edited clip, apparently herself saying: "No, no, no, no."

Just over a week before a general election in Britain, a scathing song lampooning Ms May for her perceived political flip-flopping appears to have captured the national mood, climbing to the top reaches of the British iTunes chart.

Released last Friday, the song was No. 2 on the chart by Monday, behind a remix of Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee's Despacito, featuring Justin Bieber. (One Last Time by Ariana Grande, whose Manchester concert was attacked this month by a suicide bomber, was at No. 4.)

Liar, Liar has been viewed more than 597,000 times on YouTube.

The demonising of Ms May echoes that of another polarising leader, Mrs Margaret Thatcher, the former Conservative prime minister who was eviscerated by left-wing musicians for her championing of untrammelled capitalism. Among the unforgiving songs were The Beat's Stand Down Margaret and Elvis Costello's Tramp The Dirt Down.

Ms May, who prides herself on a straight-talking veracity and a more compassionate form of conservatism than the other Iron Lady, has come under criticism for a series of U-turns.

She vowed she would not call an early election and then did just that. She supported Britain's remaining in the European Union, yet is now overseeing its departure. She has been criticised for backtracking from new plans to finance care for older people, even as she has portrayed herself as the champion of those "just about managing" to get by.

The song Liar, Liar is the work of Captain Ska, a politically fuelled ensemble of London-based session musicians who came to national prominence in 2010 with the first version of Liar, Liar. That was aimed at the austerity policies of the coalition government of Prime Minister David Cameron. The band were founded by Jake Painter and the song is being promoted by an organisation called the People's Assembly Against Austerity.

"We all know politicians like telling lies. Big ones, little ones, porky pies. Saying they're strong and stable won't disguise. We're still being taken for a ride," go the song's lyrics, which take Ms May to task for cutting spending on education, the National Health Service and the police.

They continue: "Nurses going hungry, schools in decline, I don't recognise this broken country of mine."

Proponents of the song have accused some broadcasters, including the BBC, of censorship for not playing the song. The BBC said it would not be playing the song because of editorial guidelines requiring the broadcaster to remain impartial during elections.

"We do not ban songs or artists," a spokesman said, noting, however, that "the UK is currently in an election period so we will not be playing the song".

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2017, with the headline 'Song assailing PM May No. 2 on UK chart'. Print Edition | Subscribe