Mixing Pop and Policy – songs about the policymaking process 01# “More Than This” by TV Smith

Policymaking (and implementation) rule our social lives, whether we know it or not. The advantages and disadvantages (visible and largely invisible) accruing to different types of person are, however, not the subject of popular song. I ain’t gonna change that, obvs, but I am gonna write about some of the (few) examples I know. Several are by TV Smith, whom I’ve previously described (accurately I think) as “Noam Chomsky meets Leonard Cohen, but punk.”

First up is “More than This” from the Album Misinformation Overload

So the bankers take their seats

With the party elite

In a billionaire’s retreat

Safely out of reach.

And they blame the workers, blame the unions

Blame the slump and blame the boom

And the consumer, blame the system

Blame the losers, blame the victims

Still the feeling persists

We’re worth more than this

We’re right to insist

We deserve more than this

So the policies are planned

That we won’t understand

Then the members all shake hands

And the meeting disbands

And they blame the downturn, blame the climate

Even though they’re the ones behind it

Blame the third world, blame the markets

Blame the decoys, blame the targets

[chorus]

More than this

That spins the truth around before our eyes

More than these dreams

The actors wrangle behind the scneces

We slave to exist

To see some outlines through the mist

We slave to exist, and we want more

Than this.

The status quo’s maintained

To suit the profit takers and polluters

Torturers and rights abusers

The rule makers, our accusers…

Beautifully done. Starts with the meeting (“The bankers take their seats”) and then its ‘success’ (“The polices are planned”) and then it “disbands”, and thus [with the help of hegemony and riot cops] the “status quo’s maintained”…

Next time I see him live, I will ask for this one…

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