Having spent a number of years across the water I still keep an eye on political developments in Britain amongst other things. Britain is currently gearing up for a general election and the apathy is palpable as they ready to go to the polls in May. Politics in Britain may never have been at lower ebb spurred by the expenses scandal and of course the long-standing issue of the first past the post voting system that realistically insures rule by one of two parties, Labour or Conservative. Since the dash to the centre right by Labour under the guidance of Tony Blair and his ‘New Labour’ project, people in Britain are faced with a choice akin to two cheeks of the one arse I can wholeheartedly understand the apathetic nature of the British electorate.
For all the negative connotations and failures of ‘New Labour’, I have been once again reminded that they are a slightly (and I mean slightly) better prospect than a Tory government by an unlikely source, Paul Weller. The ‘Mod Father’ Paul Weller is interviewed in the latest edition of Hotpress tells it like it is, here’s a short extract from the article:
Although a relatively happy bunny these days, Weller blew a gasket recently when David Cameron said of his time at public school, “It meant a lot, some of those early Jam albums we used to listen to. I don’t see why the left should be the only ones allowed to listen to protest songs.”
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – which part of ‘Eton Rifles’ doesn’t he get?” Paul snaps. “They can re-brand all they want, but there’s fuck all difference between the Tories now and the way they were under Thatcher.”
I don’t think I need to go through a history lesson on what Thatcher did, we’d be here forever (let’s just say I agree with Galloway) but fair play to Weller for speaking out and speaking the truth. We have plenty of our trouble but it’s a pity our musicians don’t speak out, considering Bono was a special guest at the recent Tory conference and Geldof has been an advisor to them in the past, it speaks volumes really.
In the late 70’s/80’s music attempted to confront Thatcher and the Tories in a number of ways from the Rough Trade label to Billy Bragg, The Specials and Gang of Four. Below is a link to a BBC Radio documentary ‘Stand Down Margret’, music’s response to Thatcher. It’s not exactly the greatest but it gives you an idea of the lengths people went to oppose her and if it went on the quality of bands for/against her, the opposition would have won by knock out in round one.