Tigerish music from the former MP for Lewes

The cover of The Reform Club's new single. Illustration by Andy Davey
The cover of The Reform Club's new single. Illustration by Andy Davey

Even when former Lewes MP Norman Baker is composing and performing music, he still keeps his scalpel handy.

The politician whose forensic skills helped lead to Peter Mandelson’s second resignation might have retired but his penetrative gaze is focused on what he considers “the worst political miscalculation since Eden and Suez; possibly even since Chamberlain and Munich”.

He’s talking of course about the outcome of the EU referendum which he depicts in his new single, ‘Throwing Meat to Tigers’.

The former MP said, “Our new single captures for posterity the calamitous way in which David Cameron handled his own party over the Europe issue. He may well have walked away, leaving a trail of chaos behind him, but his inept legacy lives on.”

Mr Baker continued, “I wrote the lyrics in about 2013 when I saw this train coming down the track.”.

It’s released on Friday (October 21) and can be downloaded: (catalogue number RAJP923, bar code 5055011709232-Dropbox link below for WAV file or MP3).

But slip along to The King’s Head in Lewes on Friday you can hear it performed live by Norman and fellow musicians from The Reform Club.

A cover illustration by friend Andy Davey (who studied chemistry, didn’t like it so got a job as political cartoonist for The Sun) gives a taste of the lyrics. It shows David Cameron hurling chicken carcases and raw chops to back benches loaded with snarling tigers. Job done. No description needed.

It’s his second demonstrably political song, the first was ‘Give War A Chance’ about Tony Blair.

Music plays a major role in Mr Baker’s life and predates his politics.

“It was a release; something different,” he said. “Music turns a black and white world into colour. It’s been in my life since I was 11 and worked in a newsagents. I got a pound for working on Saturday. I got on the bus to Upminster for twopence, bought two singles for 8/6d each and then 2d back on the bus. The first single I bought was Kenny Rogers’ ‘Don’t Take Your Love to Town’ but I’m proud my first album was Abbey Road.”

He said music he listens to reflects the mood he’s in. And each edition of his Sunday radio show on SeahavenFM can span 100 years of musical taste. The Reform Club has a pop-rock, 1960s feel.

“We write songs in an old fashioned way, thinking about melody and lyrics,” said Mr Baker.

The music was always there, underpinning his political life. “I had two albums out when I was a minister. People ask: ‘Why do this?’ and I say ‘because I enjoy it’. It’s like collecting stamps or going to the Lake District. It’s what I do.”

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