CRF Blog

‘England Is Mine’

by Damon Huss

The title of this blog post comes from the song “Still Ill” by The Smiths, perhaps the most quintessentially British indie rock band of the 1980s (well-known today thanks to the solo career of Morrissey, who was the band’s frontman and lyricist). The Smiths were so very British, in fact, that a disagreement arose in Parliament last week as to which Smiths’ song would best capture student feelings about proposed fee raises.

Prime Minister David Cameron has often professed his fondness for The Smiths’ music, though his conservative politics do not fit “hand in glove” with The Smiths’ own left-leaning and often radical stances, with album titles such as Meat Is Murder and The Queen Is Dead. In fact, because of Cameron’s fandom, the band’s guitarist and song co-writer, Johnny Marr, used Twitter to protest:

David Cameron, stop saying that you like The Smiths, no you don’t. I forbid you to like it.

Here is a clip of the mildly raucous parliamentary session of December 8, which sees both Labour MP Kerry McCarthy confronting Cameron with a list of song titles and Cameron’s quick retort:

I tried to imagine an analogous debate in Congress. Which American band would it involve? R.E.M.? Not likely. As for The Smiths, for a few moments in Parliament, “England was theirs.”