Desert Island Flicks

The General Election is almost upon us. And is there any better way to judge our politicians than by the films they claim to be interested in? Well, yes. There are much better ways. But it’s films that we’re interested in here. Emma Street tells you why you can’t trust anything politicians ever tell you.

These 'Private Eye' covers pretty much write themselves, don't they?
These ‘Private Eye’ covers pretty much write themselves, don’t they?

Last week David Cameron visited the Game of Thrones set in what was almost certainly a genuine bit of geeky fandom and not in any way a calculated attempt to connect with the voting public through a popular television programme. “I am a huge fan and I am very much looking forward to the next series,” he said because the Prime Minister loves some tits, warmongering, faux medieval Machiavellianism, tits, dragons, beheadings, incest and tits in between cabinet meetings.

He called himself “a big Throney” which I really want to believe is an expression one of his aides just came up with seconds before the interview. “Yeah, make sure you call yourself a ‘Throney’, Dave. The electorate will love it. You won’t sound like a tit at all.” Disappointingly, searching for #throney into Twitter brings up a bunch of tweets extolling the television series and none taking the piss about the Prime Minister. Fucking Throneys. Ruining the fun for everyone.

It’s always a bit embarrassing when politicians start using popular culture in order to demonstrate how much in touch they are with the Hard Working Families of Alarm Clock Britain (or whatever the fuck us deserving non-poor are being called this week.)

Gordon Brown extending his heartfelt wishes to Susan Boyle being the exception of course. That was pure class.

It’s not as though we ever expect politicians to tell the truth but it’s just so much more embarrassing when they do it about stuff that’s outside of their political remit. I mean, sure lie about the existence of weapons of mass destruction or the budget or election promises. But don’t say “Of course, of course” in that ‘I totally knew it’ voice when someone tells you you’re handling Arya’s needle. You big phoney.

If I ruled the world, I would declare that Desert Island Discs should never ever include currently serving politicians. Actually, it occurs to me I don’t have to rule the entire world in order to make that happen. Just Radio 4. Still if I were to end up ruling Radio 4 I might as well try to expand it to the whole world, it’s quite a small step.

Choosing one’s Desert Island Discs is fun. I update my list on a regular basis. There must be loads of us carefully honing all our personal tastes and musical preferences into eight songs even while grudgingly admitting to ourselves that being a reasonably competent IT Services Manager may not be enough to secure a guest spot on a Sunday morning radio programme.

It doesn’t count when politicians do it though. Even the ones who are interesting enough to have compiled a personal song list in the bath wouldn’t use it on the show. Instead they’ll have eight songs chosen by committee. You just know that behind every Desert Island Disc appearance by David Cameron, Nick Clegg or Ed Miliband, there was a terse boardroom meeting, presumably presided on by some Malcolm Tucker type, where a list was compiled to ensure that the politician ticked every kind of box necessary to show they were a cultured, diverse person with their finger on the pulse of Modern Entertainment Sensibilities.

“Maybe you should have something other than Dire Straits on your list? Like a bit of classical musical to show you like classy stuff. That one about spring’s always popular. Also, I’m thinking you need to have at least one song by a woman. Or possibly a black person.”

Politicians are always being asked about this stuff, though. In between policies and budgets and long-term economic goals, they’re expected to tell us what their favourite films are. And we’re all about films (mostly) here at Mostly Film. So if you haven’t yet decided who you’re going to vote for, why not read the film choices of the party leaders below and decide that way?

(That was a rhetorical question, but for the avoidance of doubt, the answer to the previous question would be: because that would be a stupid, stupid idea.)

The Prime Minister David Cameron has provided his top five films. These are: Lawrence of Arabia, Where Eagles Dare, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Casablanca and Schindler’s List. All worthy and critically acclaimed films to be sure. And no doubt taken off some approved non-controversial film list memo. Although he did manage to sneak ‘the last ten minutes’ of Shrek 2 into the list in same Daily Mail interview. Proving that (a) his counting to five skills aren’t what they might be and (b) the Prime Minister is either too embarrassed or wasn’t allowed to include Shrek 2 on his ‘proper’ list.  Cameron’s real-life Malcolm Tucker must have been stomping around after that interview furious that the PM brought up “Shrek Fucking Two” when he was specifically told to drop it. I bet Cameron loves Shrek 2 more than all the other films on his list put together.

He shouldn’t be ashamed of liking a kid film. Nick Clegg isn’t. He has happily admitted to thinking that King Fu Panda is one of “the greatest movies made in recent years”. Quite right too.  “The characters are bemusing, endearing…” he says. Eh? Bemusing? Is that the word you intended to use? I suppose it makes sense. I like the idea of the deputy prime minister watching the martial arts antics of an ambitious panda, a murderous snow-leopard, a wise tortoise and a tetchy red panda and feeling faintly bemused by the whole experience.


Ed Miliband’s favourite film is The Usual Suspects, apparently. There’s probably a clever analogy to be made about politicians and crime to be made there. I bet Steve Bell could make a hilarious political cartoon out of it. Probably involving monkeys and condoms and Keyser Söze looking like an actual key for some reason.

Expecting politicians to define themselves through their favourite films is nothing new. Winston Churchill’s favourite film was The Hamilton Woman starring Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier. Whereas Adolf Hitler cited King Kong and Disney’s Snow White. Say what you like about the Nazis, the fuehrer did have good taste in films.

Although come to think of it, both King Kong and Snow White are a bit crowd-pleasing, aren’t they? They could easily have come off a committee-approved shortlist. I wonder what Hitler’s Desert Island Disc choices would have been like.

Of all the party leaders in the forthcoming general election, I think the only one whose opinion on films I would actually take seriously is the leader of the Free UK Party, Al Murray. Murray knows all about films having made Al Murray’s Great British War Movies and Al Murray’s Great British Spy Movies for BBC4. Sure, they’re basically clips ‘n’ cunts shows but they manage to encompass far more enthusiasm for the movie industry than your usual politicians ever manage. Everyone vote FUKP! We’re all going to have to move to Thanet to do that, unfortunately. It’ll be a bit of a squash but at least we can talk about films when we get there.

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