The Ulster Unionist Party, once the powerful voice of pro-British activism in Northern Ireland, has turned to Freddy Mercury impersonator Flash Harry to improve its political standing.
Politics and popular culture often make for uncomfortable partners. But the Ulster Unionists – whose politics and penchant for the color orange are not exactly popular in much of Ireland on St. Patrick's Day – are reaching out for a little rock-and-roll pizazz to improve their chances at the polls in Northern Ireland.
Whether it's well-meaning campaigns like Rock the Vote, Ted Nugent at the tea parties, or the sight of musicians of near-pensionable age attempting to educate youths about global issues (step forward, Sting and Bono), rock-and-roll and politics just never quite seem to gel.
Perhaps it's rock's anti-authoritarian aesthetic of eternal teenage rebellion. Or maybe it's just that the last thing we want from lawmakers is "excitement" in the form of sex, drugs and rock-and-roll.
Either way, it is hard to imagine a political movement in the Western world more conservative and staid than Ulster unionism. Mention unionists, the pro-British forces in Northern Ireland, and it conjures images of bowler-hatted Orangemen and stern Protestant preachers.
It's all the stranger, then, that in its bid to regain the majority of unionist vote from bitter rivals, the Ulster Unionist Party is running a rock singer as a candidate in the forthcoming United Kingdom general election.
And not just any rock singer. The UUP candidate is Harry Hamilton, better-known by his stage name Flash Harry.