GUEST BLOG: Curwen Rolinson – Themes of the Campaign



There’s one area of a political campaign that just about everyone, at some point, falls afoul of. The campaign song. I’m not sure quite why it is, but it seems to be almost impossible for political parties to come up with a musical oeuvre that’s simultaneously accessible to a broad swathe of the population, resonates with key demographics, embodies the narrative themes of your campaign, AND won’t create some sort of bizarre blowback later.

I was therefore pretty surprised when National went with what was pretty clearly a slightly orchestrally elevator music version of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”. It was broadly accessible (just about everyone’s heard it in the decade or so since 8Mile came out); it resonated with key demographics (youth; the sort of upper-middle-class person who thinks Eminem is “edgy”); embodied the narrative theme of National’s campaign (tough times, but a way forward out of them thanks to a visionary genius) … and then it created some sort of bizarre blowback.

See, when viewing the Opening Night broadcasts, I thought that this election could be summed up as Eminem vs Coldplay (as Labour’s ad featured a similarly elevator music’d Viva La Vida … which quite possibly makes elevator music squared); although when researching this piece, it turned out that National vs Coldplay has, in fact, happened before… (they’ve also previously been sued by Warner Brothers, in 1984, for using the theme to Chariots of Fire.)

I’m not quite sure why there’s such a pattern of right-wing parties using music they’re not entitled to and which contains polemical points they don’t understand; but it’s not like National’s the only offender.

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Previous examples of this include the Republican Party borrowing the Foo Fighters’ “Times Like These” to herald George W Bush, then doing the same thing four years later with “My Hero” for John McCain; although for the truly absolutely bizarre, look no further than the elected quasi-fascists of the British National Party using The Manic Street Preachers’ If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next.

Yes, that’s right, an actual quasi-fascist party used a song written in tribute to the International Brigades which fought in the Spanish Civil War … and EVEN INCLUDES THE LITERAL LINE “So if I can shoot rabbits/ then I can shoot fascists!” … as their electoral anthem. Really, really logical there, people.

But let’s take a step back for a moment and consider the associations and themes of the song National’s actually chosen to herald the #BrighterFuture this time around. What’s Lose Yourself really about? (Apart from Mum’s Spaghetti)

From where I’m sitting, the entire ethos and vibe of both the song, and the accompanying movie/vehicle it’s drawn from is about a man and his community that’s suffering from some considerable economic marginalization. That’s why he’s living in a “mobile home”. That’s why he “can’t get by with my 9 to 5 [to] provide the right type of life for my family / Coz man these food stamps don’t buy diapers” … seriously, let’s just pause for a minute and consider the fact that National’s official campaign theme contains lines about how state welfare/assistance recipients can’t access items they need because we refuse to trust them with money – food stamps not buying diapers is eerily similar to WINZ deciding tampons were a “luxury item” that couldn’t be bought with a food grant… and then we wind up with “and these times are so hard – and its’ getting even harder”.

Now just remind yourself, for a moment, which political party it is which has taken the song about the man struggling to be able to provide for his child because wages aren’t enough to sustain a family, and state assistance has been pared back too much to help him. For some strange reason, it’s the party that *opposes* a Living Wage and which has done more than any government since Ruthanasia to slash state assistance to beneficiaries. And then, to add insult to injury, the ads featuring Lose Yourself in the background have a team of rowers – a sport more usually associated with Cambridge and Oxford or our best boys’ schools down the Maadi Cup, rather than “Struggle Street” (or, if you prefer, McGehan Close)

Mad, yet?


“Curwen Ares Rolinson is a firebrand young nationalist presently engaged in acts of political resistance deep behind enemy lines amidst the leafy boughs of Epsom. He is affiliated with the New Zealand First Party; although his postings here should not necessarily be taken as indicative or representative of NZF’s policy or views.” 



  1. I was initially surprised by the choice of music: /going off the rails on a crazy train/ seemed so much more like the Key government somehow. But I had missed the deliberate irony of a rowing shell going downhill to a stolen theme – the Gnats faceless minions got this one right – right down to having to pull the video.

  2. certainly would seem the gNatsi party likes to surreptitiously rub in their poverty inducing policies – perhaps slanted to the rich boys club via a kind of cynical , sarcastic reverse psychology message….

    Alluding to the ‘born to rule ‘ mentality that somehow the filthy peasant masses will lack the intelligence to pick up on it…who knows.

    What is truly hilarious about all this is that the same charge leveled at Mr Kim Dotcom is the same charge now leveled at the gNatsi party. They will never live this down.

    The difference is …unlike the travesty of bringing the full weight of the state apparatus backed by the FBI against one man , complete with an ILLEGAL SPYING , ILLEGAL WARRANT and an ILLEGAL INVASION AND ARREST then IMPRISONMENT …..

    These shitty hypocrites will dig deep , have a whip around from all their filthy rich buddies to pay for not only court costs but spin doctors fees to set up yet more straw men arguments to smooth over the whole issue.

    Not for them 80 + paramilitary law enforcement officers dressed in black combat fatigues armed with semi automatics abseiling down from helicopters …
    -roughing up 3 adults and several children (a female also who was near the end of her pregnancy as well !!) incarcerating the central figure without legal right to do so, freezing that individuals assets , conducting in collusion with the MSM a constant 4 year public smear campaign – and using a right wing blogsite to further sway popular opinion to demonise that individual….

    As far as I’m concerned I don’t give a flying rats shit about what happens to JohnXKEYSCORE and his lying bunch of gNatsi arseholes – all the whys or wherefores – they had it coming.

    They should be lucky they will get off lightly in comparison to what they did to one individual in OUR country!!

  3. part of the advertising psychology of using the music is the lyrics of the original – youve only got one shot” etc and some how subliminally you equate key and the gnats with a party that has been struggling through hard times for you and you need to vote them in to be successful as they deserve it everyone wants to back the down trodden – so slick and sick. looks like the demon serpent is consuming itself now though, stock up on pop corn and watch it implode is my strategy

  4. Usual outcome of giving someone enough rope is that they will use it to hang themselves. Not insulting anyone by using this analogy, but hopefully Key and his henchmen will eventually realise how to use the metaphorical rope the voters have just handed them, and the sooner the better.

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