Tagged: Billy Bragg

Grassroots music & politics – 2

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 BattleMiliband, 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

Billy Bragg defends decision to host UKIP rally at Sage Gateshead

UKIP has found an unlikely ally in left-wing musician Billy Bragg after a move to host its largest ever rally at the SageGateshead.

The venue’s management was attacked on social media for itsdecision to provide the venue for the party’s spring meeting on St George’s Day in April.

After critics on the social networking site Twitter said the organisation had a “moral obligation” not to allow UKIP leader Nigel Farage to assemble his party on Tyneside,  Bragg waded into the online spat to support the Sage.

Responding to online questioning, Mr Bragg – who regularly plays at the venue and was part of its recent poster campaign – wrote: “I don’t have a problem with it.

“We shouldn’t be complacent about UKIP, but denying them the right to hold meetings is not the way forward. Don’t UKIP have the right of assembly?”

> He may have a point – UKIP is home to so many fruitcakes that giving them the opportunity of making prats of themselves in public might be a good thing. 

The meeting on the evening of April 23 will be the largest public meeting ever to be held by the party and its “early bird” free tickets have already been snapped up.

The Eurosceptic party has previously held a North East conference in Tynemouth but Nigel Farage will be speaking in person at this event.

> If anywhere in Tyne & Wear was going to host a UKIP conference,  you’d have bet on it being Tynemouth  😉

After by-election successes across the country, Mr Farage has said he hopes to make considerable gains in May’s local and European elections.

Messages left for the Sage online from the public prompted the organisation’s general director Anthony Sargent to clarify his stance on hosting political events.

The music and concert venue has previously been booked to hold the meetings of the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats and Mr Sargent said: “Picking and choosing between political views would be an indefensible position and that really would be letting the local community down.

“We need to give these people a platform, then trust the democratic process to separate the wheat from the chaff. We have no opinion on UKIP nor do we on the Conservatives, Labour or Liberal Democrats.”

Quoting political philosopher John Stuart Mill, he added: “There’s a very basic freedom of speech right in the UK which is prized by the British whether or not you agree with a set of opinions. It’s a foundational right living in Britain that you have the right to express yourself.”

One critic of the planned conference, Alan Verth, wrote on Twitter that Sage needed to consider its “moral obligations to community” while a user of the site calling himself Trevstanley called it a“disgusting” move and would not be visiting the Sage again.

Mr Verth wrote: “I’m not happy with my home town hosting this as it goes against everything I stand for.”

Newcastle-based singer Gem Andrews, who released her debut last year, also took to Twitter to ask people to campaign against UKIP meeting on Tyneside.

Meanwhile…

UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage has disowned proposals from one of his MEPs for Muslims to be asked to sign a charter rejecting violence.

Gerard Batten, who sits on the party’s National Executive Committee, said he stood by the “charter of Muslim understanding” which he co-authored in 2006 and which states that parts of the Koran which promote “violent physical jihad” should be regarded as “inapplicable, invalid and non-Islamic”.

His comments sparked criticism from Muslim groups and UKIP’s political opponents.

The Conservative leader in the European Parliament, Syed Kamall, who is himself a Muslim, left a letter on Mr Batten’s empty seat at the Parliament chamber in Strasbourg, sarcastically offering him a guarantee that he had no intention to commit acts of violence.

Mr Farage said: “This was a private publication from Gerard Batten in 2006 and its contents are not and never have been UKIP policy.”

> Fruitcakes, the whole lot of them…

Source – Newcastle Journal  06 Feb 2014