The Third Leader: Desert island spin

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The Independent Online

Oh for the days when people said what they meant and meant what they said. The days when - to take one quite random example - the castaway on Desert Island Discs chose a Brahms concerto or a Mozart mass or even "Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West)" because they really liked it rather than because they thought we'd think better of them for liking it.

It is all Bill Clinton's fault, of course, for even entertaining the underwear question. George Bush has the White House release his list of summer holiday reading. We learnt a while back what the US President has on his iPod - or rather what the White House would like us to believe he has on his iPod, or maybe what W downloaded on to his iPod in anticipation of just such an enquiry. And only a fortnight ago Condoleezza Rice gave Independent readers an exclusive insight into her favourite pieces of music.

David Cameron's eight records - Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, REM, among them - brought us a "regular guy", entirely typical of his years, with just a flick of Ernie-style proletarianism. Contrast Gordon Brown, who says he starts the day by listening to the Arctic Monkeys on his iPod (as though we suspected he might prefer a nice mournful bit of Sibelius). And what does it say about Sir Menzies Campbell that he wants us to know that his taste leans towards Oasis? Would he like to name a favourite track as well?

Which brings us back to "Dave" Cameron marooned on his Desert Island, with his Jura whisky and a cookery book. Once upon a time, it was thought that the music would reveal the person. Now, it is not just the turntable that spins.

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