Welcome to Declassified, a weekly humor column.
The next prime minister of the U.K. will need the backing of as many high-profile figures as possible, and the race is on to get the biggest name of them all on board.
No, not the man on the way out of 10 Downing Street, Boris Johnson, whose preferences are (in order): himself, his wife, Dilyn the dog, the ashes of Winston Churchill, Liz Truss, Ursula von der Leyen, Nicola Sturgeon, Michael Gove and Rishi Sunak.
The real prize is American singer Taylor Swift.
Rumors that Truss thought “Taylor Swift” was a custom-made version of the international payments system were unconfirmed at the time of going to press. In fact, Truss has the inside track on getting Swift’s much-sought-after backing, having posed for a picture with her — and posted it on Instagram — at an awards ceremony in 2019 when she was chief secretary to the Treasury (Truss, not Swift, who has never, as far as I can tell, held any senior roles in the British Treasury). Truss also quoted the lyrics to Swift’s song “The Man” in the House of Commons during an International Women’s Day debate in 2020.
Truss’ opponent, Sunak, is trailing badly in the Swift sweepstakes, having only been to see her in concert with his wife.
Of course it shouldn’t matter what music a politician listens to, as long as a) they are good at their job and b) it’s not Ed Sheeran; but they do keep on being asked what their favorite bands and songs are (remember when Gordon Brown lied that he listened to the Arctic Monkeys? Shudder).
This week, in an effort to get a glimpse at the person behind the politics, inexplicably still going TV channel GB News asked Truss to name something people might not know about her, and she responded that she loves ’80s music and a bit of karaoke. Her go-to karaoke tune? “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” by Whitney Houston.
Sunak’s karaoke favorite is unknown but he did tell the Times in 2021 that he was “meant to go to Coachella” when he got the job of chancellor and that his top tunes during lockdown were by The Weeknd and Alicia Keys.
Neither candidate has yet to receive the ultimate honor, however — becoming a dancefloor star. It did happen to another likely future prime minister, Italy’s Giorgia Meloni, whose speech in which she described herself as “a woman, a mother, an Italian and a Christian” was put on top of a dance beat and went viral.
“The Conservative Party is not a sinking ship and I don’t know what could have given you that impression.”
Can you do better? Email [email protected] or on Twitter @pdallisonesque
Last week we gave you this photo:
Thanks for all the entries. Here’s the best from our postbag — there’s no prize except for the gift of laughter, which I think we can all agree is far more valuable than cash or booze.
“Are you sure you’re from Uber, picking me up?” by Frederic Myers.
Paul Dallison is POLITICO‘s slot news editor.