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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 October, 2003, 16:13 GMT 17:13 UK
Hitting the right note?
By Mark Davies
BBC News Online political reporter

It ended as billed - opera singer Suzannah Clarke leading Labour delegates first in The Red Flag and then in Jerusalem after a barnstorming speech from John Prescott.

Tony Blair sang along as the Red Flag returned to conference after a short break - rather like the return of Mr Prescott's traditional tub-thumping finale speech.

But where earlier in the week the warm-up music was all soft tones and uplifting messages, they went Tarantino for the final session with deputy prime minister.

After music from the film Reservoir Dogs, on came Mr Red to tell it like he sees it, in a way only he can.

So this was no time for gentle inspiration courtesy of the Lighthouse Family, who seem to have become a favourite for Labour.

The band's song Lifted got an airing at last year's party conference in Blackpool - and was back on the turntable again this year as delegates prepared for Tony Blair's big speech earlier this week.

Barbara Castle and Tony Benn at the 1976 Labour conference
The Red Flag: reminiscent of conferences past
It was one of a number of uplifting tunes which have graced the conference hall during breaks and in the run-up to appearances by cabinet ministers.

The idea, of course, is to make everyone feel warm and cuddly about the party - "come on guys forget the rows in favour of jigging your feet around merrily".

We've had All Together Now by The Farm - no beating about the bush with hidden messages there. Gabrielle's Rise was another favourite toe-tapper.

Then there was the souped-up version of Elvis Presley's A Little Less Conversation which topped the charts earlier this year. Tony Blair has promised exactly the opposite with a nationwide consultation on Labour's policies. Some might say "a little more action" would be desirable.

Students yawn during debate at the Labour conference
A sing-song might stop the yawns from younger conference-goers

Heather Small's Proud has also featured during the week, particularly in the run-up to Mr Blair's speech.


"What have you done today, to make you feel proud?", the song asked as Labour celebrated what it believes its achievements have been in government.

For Mr Prescott it was different. He's not really a Lighthouse Family sort of man anyway.

His speech was more Helter Skelter, blunt, entertaining and often funny.

How about the all-time Stranglers great hit, 'Gordon Brown'. Oh hang on......!!!
Steven Pockett, England

It was the return of something which had become standard at Labour conference - Mr Prescott's rousing finale. He's stopped doing it in recent years, but came back due to popular demand.

After a week which has seen a few spats amid fairly traumatic times for Labour, Old John Prescott's Revival Tonic was back to sooth furrowed brows.

Arms out-stretched he tore into the Tories, ravaged the Lib Dems. And sold what he sees as the merits of his party, all achieved, he said - like a street salesman - not in eight years, not even in seven, but in six years.

He attacked errant MPs who criticse the leadership, and then called up his own on screen prompt - a mock list of Tory "pledges" - to turn his fire on Iain Duncan Smith.

And he enjoyed it all so much that at the end he even clapped himself.

We asked for your ideas for the songs played at Labour's conference. Here are some of the best suggestions:.

It has to be the all-time Stranglers great hit, 'Gordon Brown'. Oh hang on......!!!
Steven Pockett, England

Theme from Benny Hill
Marc, Wales

How about 'Theres a Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears he's Elvis'. By Kirsty MaColl, simply for the line "but he's a liar and I'm not sure about you".
Ian Davies, England

Gordon's Brown's speech could have been followed by John Lennon's "Jealous Guy" and as for Tony Blair's entrance music? How about Meatloaf's "I lied to you and that's the truth?"
Michael, UK

Suggested song for the Labour Party Conference?- "Won't get fooled again" by the Who.
Hywel thomas, United Kingdom

My choice? Stop Me If You Think That You've Heard This One Before by The Smiths. A little wry introspection seems in order.
Ceardha, Northern Ireland

Paula Abdul's What Have you Done for Me Lately?
Rachel, UK

You Don't Have to Say You Love Me - Dusty Springfield !!
Tracey, Scotland

Any of the following: Oops - I did it again, I should be so lucky, Sorry seems to be the hardest word.
James Dawkins, England

Stealers Wheel's old hit "Stuck in the middle with you" seems about right for the Labour Party's current love/hate relationship with Blair...
Rich, UK

"That don't impress me much" by Shania Twain to symbolise the non-acheivement of 6 years.
Claire Powell, Brussels, Belgium

Wouldn't Fleetwood Mac's "Little Lies" be appropriate?

Farewell my LAbour ex . . . (Rachel Stevens)
Chris Ball, UK

You're so vain - Carly Simon.
Simon Davis, Brighton, UK

"Things Can Only Get Better" - As true today as it was then.
David Cuthbertson, UK

"You're the best thing (that ever happened us)" ! - The Jam
David, UK

"See you Later, Alligator" would be a good one...
Mike Griggs, UK

What about that old Oasis favourite "What's the Story (Secret Tory)?"?
Peter G. Innes, Scotland

Surely Jerusalem is entirely appropriate- a song that appeals to the patriotism of Tories and the sense of social justice of Old Labour. In short, a song that is all things to all people, just like New Labour.
James Savage, Sweden

Clash - should i stay or should i go
Andrew, UK

The BBC's Laura Trevelyan
"The Chancellor was passionate"

Chancellor Gordon Brown
"Opportunity and social justice should be the promise of Britain, not just to some but to everyone"

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