Having started with the far right, now for the not quite so far right…the Labour Party.
Are musicians and creative people generally more likely to lean to the left, politically speaking ? It does generally seem that way.
Labour once had a good relationship with musicians – I’m particularly thinking of their engagement with Red Wedge, the collective of musicians who attempted to engage young people with politics in general, and the policies of the Labour Party in particular, during the period leading up to the 1987 general election, in the hope of ousting the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher.
Fronted by Billy Bragg (whose 1985 Jobs for Youth tour had been a prototype of sorts for Red Wedge), Paul Weller and The Communards lead singer Jimmy Somerville, they put on concert tours and appeared in the media, adding their support to the Labour Party campaign.
Artists who appeared at Red Wedge gigs included The Style Council, The Communards, Junior Giscombe, Jerry Dammers,Madness, The The, Heaven 17, Bananarama, Prefab Sprout, Elvis Costello, Gary Kemp, Tom Robinson, Sade, The Beat, Lloyd Cole, The Smiths, The The, Captain Sensible and the Blow Monkeys.
Which is a pretty good support base. It didn’t work though, and Red Wedge was formally disbanded in 1990.
I wonder how many of those would appear in support of Miliband ? Labour lost any credibility they may have still retained under Blair (despite desperate attempts to woo ‘Cool Britannia’) and I dont really think its ever going to come back. Tough shit, Ed.
There’s not even much in the way of anti-Labour songs out there… not in the same way as there is for UKIP. There’s one or two featuring Ed Miliband, but they are more speech cut-ups – well executed and quite funny, but without the vitriol and satire that fuels the anti-UKIP ones.
It’s a if we’ve been so disapointed by Labour that we cant even be bothered to heckle anymore.
I do like the bacon sandwich one, though.
Ed Miliband (feat. Queen): One Nation
Rap Battle – Miliband, Farage & Clegg
Ed Miliband eats a bacon sandwich
It’d probably be unfair to drag Tony Blair into this…but, hey – why not ? This is a great video and neatly sums up the disillusionment Bliar left in his wake : “we could have been anything…”
Goodbye, Tony Blair
Here’s an idea… forget the spin-doctors and the mainstream media and instead explore the political landscape via the music it’s inspiring.
You probably won’t have heard much, if anything, of what follows. It’s not played on the TV or radio, the political parties themselves don’t know it exists and almost certainly wouldn’t care for it if they did – with one exception. There is one party who understand the concept very well – can you guess which one ?
This is folk music (small ‘f’), music performed by folk, singing about their concerns. For the most part it’s DIY recordings and videos, probably made on no budget at all in most cases, and released into the wild via Youtube and other sites.
It’s not-for-profit, its makes no money for corporations, it almost certainly wont be on your radio. But its inventive, satirical, funny, vitriolic and often thought-provoking. What else do you need ?
Once upon a time, protest music like this would have been the domain of either a person with a guitar (the folkie approach) or a band (the punk approach). Both would have had to use a recording studio for best results, press records or cassettes, and then have to distribute them.
It all took time and money.
Nowadays you can have a recording studio on your PC, record and mix your track and within minutes post it on the internet. Within an hour it could be heard by more people than you’d ever have believed possible in the old days.
What follows is a selection of these songs. They are mainly protesting against various parties or individuals – there are actually very few songs promoting political parties, and they are usually pretty dire – as an example I’d point you towards ex-Radio 1 DJ Mike Read’s ‘Ukip Calypso’, which had to be withdrawn from sale after claims that it was racist. I reckon it was the attempt to sing it in a fake West Indian accent that did it.
Ukip tried to salvage something from the wreckage by saying that all proceeds would go to the Red Cross to help fight Ebola, only for the Red Cross to reply;
“As a neutral organisation, we cannot benefit from something which overtly supports one political party.
“In addition, the Red Cross has a proud history of helping refugees and asylum seekers who are negatively referred to in the lyrics.”
Read later told BBC London:
“People are very, very, very quick to take offence now at something that years ago would have been deemed to be a bit of satire and a bit of fun..”
Could this be the same Mike Read who in 1984 was instrumental in getting the BBC to ban Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s “Relax” on the grounds that it was obscene ? I think it could.
For the record (sic) “Relax” subsequently shot to Number 1 in the charts, stayed there for five weeks, going on to enjoy prolonged chart success throughout that year and ultimately becoming the seventh best-selling UK single of all time.
Banning things rarely makes them go away.
Well, since we were talking about Ukip, I’ll start with selection of songs about them.
There are lots of them ! I’ve chosen a small selection of my favorites.
Interestingly, there are a lot of female artists recording anti-Ukip songs…make what you will of that.
Anyone who reads Private Eye will know that Ukippers tend to have a very low tolerance of satire directed against them, so perhaps they might want to skip therest.
The rest of you… enjoy !
Who Put The U In UKIP? – David Goody
(Dont) Vote Ukip – K Pizz
Fab Farage: A UKIP Odyssey (featuring Stella)
The Daily Mail UKIP Song
Ukip – Jonny & The Baptists
And my favorite…
Lets put the blight back into Blighty
Like the Dark Ages, but more white-y
Song For UKIP – Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre
To be continued…