Straight to the point. Two or three things today.
Then look out for, and preferably buy, the new Nadine Shah album ‘Holiday Destination’. There’s lots of ways to make a stand, some more effective than others, but sometimes you’ve just got to do what you’re good at and make your point while doing so. Credit to Nadine because this record simmers with discontent at the state of things and keeps an edge musically as well. If you get into one of those late night discussions about the lack of modern, radical troubadours, yell out the name Nadine Shah and cut it dead.
Great video and bonus points for the use of ‘cursing’ in a song!
For further info! there’s a good little interview at clashmusic explaining the personal and political behind the album.
I’ve largely kept out of the post-election scraps but I was heartened by the shift towards the “for the many” policies being put forward by a rejuvenated and radicalised Labour Party. Astounded that the Conservatives are clinging on to power despite the blandest of Leader and an appalling campaign. More so as they have just carried this on through the Brexit negotiations and, in particular, the reaction to the Grenfell Tower disaster. And this week we have the audacity of Sajid Javid shifting the blame from the absolute ineptness of a Conservative, yes a Conservative, run Council to all local authorities without even choking on his own irony at the fact that, if anything has been the cause of lack of trust in local authorities, it’s the incessant cuts that his government have forced on them. The goddamn arrogance!
Largely putting this on here because I saw Primal Scream in Hull the other week and Bobby G was in fine form. Like Massive Attack, the point is mostly made away from the music but there’s a point to Come Together that seems to fit the mood right now.
For the first time in a very long while, I have to say that I’ve been impressed with the Labour Party during this election campaign. I like it that impostors such as Blair and Mandelson have been sidelined, that the parliamentary party has kept on message (ok, I’m not naive enough to know that they’re only after their jobs back and will be back to their usual betrayals in little or no time), that they’ve kept personalities out of it and tried to focus on policies and, yes, that they made a few mistakes. I would much rather have someone who cares, has a bit of passion but maybe no head for retaining figures than some media-trained careerist who may have the gift of the gab but has had all original thought briefed out of them.
Above all, I like it that Jeremy Corbyn has said he will do the following as soon as he is elected as Prime Minister:
- Contact Donald Trump and urge him to retract his “unacceptable” remarks about London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan.
- Call Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron on Friday to kick off Brexit talks, saying his win would give him a mandate to negotiate tariff-free trade.
- Set a date for a quick budget to implement key policies, including lifting the public sector pay cap.
- Confront Saudi Arabia over its funding for terrorist groups.
Please go out and vote for a fairer Britain. You might not get a better chance.
One last trip back to the 70s and I think we’ve established that there’s only one party trying to take us back there and if they succeed then it really will be to the dark side of that decade, no better portrayed than by Linton Kwesi Johnson. Linton was my introduction to reggae thanks to being on almost constant rotation by the late, great John Peel. ‘Sonny’s Lettah’ is taken from the album ‘Forces of Victory’ (co-produced by the equally magnificent Dennis Bovell) and is a poem in the form of a letter from a man imprisoned in Britain to his mother in Jamaica, setting out the injustice of the racist SUS law that was in widespread use by the police at the time.
You know what, I don’t want someone leading this country who says he or she would actually use a nuclear weapon…in any circumstances to be honest. First use is obviously wrong isn’t it, second use? Well, aside from the fact that I would be dead, I’m not going to take any pleasure in some sort of retaliation that would kill millions of other innocent people. What I do want is a change from the macho posturing and dogmatism that has done nothing but lead to war, death and destruction in this nation’s ignoble past. And there’s no better example of that than Northern Ireland. Peace wasn’t achieved by people threatening to push a button or pull a trigger but by people realising that we’ve just got to talk to each other and live with our differences. It’s soul destroying to see a so-called election debate either stuck in the past (for god’s sake what is it with the IRA, it’s bad enough with England football supporters’ embarrassing obsession…time to move on folks) or transfixed by what might happen in a doomsday scenario that would only have one result, when right here right now we have people struggling to survive in what is supposedly one of the wealthiest countries in the world.
Yeah I know I’m banging on again and it’s obvious where my sympathies lie but I think we have a genuine chance here for something radically different. I want a fairer, equal society, where there is opportunity for everyone and I want to hear people standing up for what they believe in rather than what they think they need to believe in simply to achieve power and reinforce this goddamn elitist, screwed up system of ours. We have an opportunity, grab it!
Talking of grabbing opportunities, Stiff Little Fingers bravely stood above all the crap that was going on in Northern Ireland in the 70s and tried to point people in the right direction. Alternative UK anyone?
The Conservatives think we are fools. Why else would they think they can get away with a fag packet manifesto for which they couldn’t even be bothered to show their sums. And within days they are abandoning its content. So, while you are carrying out your u-turns don’t forget your hard brexit, your failed yet endlessly regurgitated immigration policies, the scrapping of universal free school lunches for infants, those plans to reduce corporation tax and abandon the pension triple-lock, and while you’re at it, I look forward to seeing that £350m per week for the NHS finally finding its way into print. No? Well that’s because your manifestos are meaningless anyway…there to be broken within weeks of getting into power – http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/yvette-cooper/election-promises-broken_b_7949232.html
Don’t let them get away with it. If you’re not registered to vote, there’s still time to make a difference – https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
Back to the 70s….channeling punk, dub reggae, african rhythms and attitude, lots of attitude, here are the glorious Slits
So the Conservative manifesto failed to receive the same level of scrutiny and hostility from the media as the Labour manifesto. Hardly a surprise to see Laura Kuenssburg, political editor at the BBC, proudly hailing the Tory manifesto as Theresa May’s “bid to be tough not cruel”, while declaring the Labour manifesto to be “more spending, more tax and more borrowing”. After all she needn’t worry about being out of work again as she must be guaranteed a safe Tory seat whenever she wants, for services rendered.
And imagine the response if Labour had been found not to have costed the impact of a manifesto pledge like Michael Fallon did this evening about the Tory manifesto pledge to reduce immigration.
Oh and another thing, the Tory manifesto says there will be no new Leveson enquiry. Those nights that May spent cosying up to Murdoch and Dacre must have been well worth it…for all concerned.
We don’t have to accept this.
The return to the 70s continues…I remember being handed a leaflet outside the school gates when I was 12 or 13 years old promoting a Rock Against Racism gig and all I could do was immaturely snigger with my mates about a band on the bill called Buzzcocks. A year or so later and I finally caught up with them (and things!) but by then their best days were arguably over. Anyway that brings me to Steel Pulse, who were probably also on that leaflet as they played many a Rock Against Racism benefit, and who I would have been ashamedly also clueless about at the time. Thankfully, not now.
Things can’t remain the same. Yah no!
From the depths of despair belatedly comes the realisation that falling silent is not good enough. It’s a shame that it took the calling of an election to spur the Labour Party into getting its message out, particularly when that message is becoming increasingly (and yet not surprisingly) popular but it’s clear that we’re now into an us and them battle. And let’s not blur the battle lines by allowing the Conservatives to suddenly be the saviour of workers rights when their history is built on the blind adulation of wealth at the complete expense of those who created it. When it repeals its own Trade Union Act then I might take them a bit more seriously.
Establishment control of the media is now so blatant that it almost appears careless. To the point where the only difference between the Conservative Party propaganda and the reporting of the state broadcaster is the logo in the top left hand corner…
We have the ex-chancellor of the exchequer editing the Evening Standard, while his pal and stalwart Tory London Mayor campaigner now edits Radio 4’s Today programme. And don’t start me off with the Murdochs and Rothermere.
What chance have we got? Well we have got the chance to bring genuine change because, to coin a phrase, we are the many and they will always represent and benefit the few. Are you with us?
Come on then, back to 70s and while we’re at it let’s prove young Mr Weller wrong…we can win!