As you may have noticed, The English Left is a big fan of Billy Bragg.
There have been few Brits able to mix politics and pop with such energy and commitment as the Bard of Barking. Of course, The Clash, The Specials, Madness and The Smiths must be hailed for perfect slices of agit pop but few have actually got their hands dirty in way Billy has; knocking on doors, speaking at rallies etc etc.
Unfortunately, this die hard activism leaves Mr Bragg with a huge problem in alienating potential listeners and becoming easy pickings for the political elites who control the media. I commend Billy for his continuous enthusiasm and downright hard graft for the English Left (the movement, as opposed to this blog).
He doesn’t need to put himself out there but he does. It would be easier to write a song speaking to his fanbase and take the plaudits in his own talking shop/cottage industry. He doesn’t. That’s too easy. He gets himself out there. Whether that be on picket lines, at rallies or canvassing to keep fascists at bay. Whilst I don’t always agree with him (tactical voting for the Lib Dems, recent comments on Morrissey), at least he doesn’t just sit about moaning. He tries. He acts. I wish there were more like you, Bill.
Anyway, enough of the love in. Today I read this so called article by a so called journalist from the Murdoch press. Normally I wouldn’t stoop so low as to read the rag but as a few comrades were discussing it and becoming upset about Billy’s stance, I thought I’d better dig deeper to find out more. By the time I’d read the article, it had already been rebuffed by Mr Bragg.
For those not in the know, The Times were claiming the Barking boy had denounced his support for Corbyn at an event in Edinburgh last night. Except it didn’t tell us that he had been speaking at the Edinburgh Book Festival until halfway down the article. In fact, to Generation Twitter, this was direct from the comrade’s mouth.
I scanned for quotes. Here they were:
“I worry about Jeremy that he’s a kind of 20th century Labour man.”
Couldn’t agree more. He is deadly loyal to Labour. He believes in Labour even if it writes his suicide note. For evidence: rejecting ideas for a progressive alliance, refusing to deselect troublesome MPs, inviting haters on to the shadow cabinet.
“You can see what happens when a political party becomes tribalist. We can’t afford to go down that route if we are to retain the ability to represent ordinary working people.”
Absolutely. Embracing a proportional voting system and a rainbow parliament is probably the only way now to keep the Tories out. Jeremy hasn’t been strong enough to convey this message to the electorate as yet. Mind you, it has been near impossible with all the coups in the Labour Party kitchen.
Er, that was about it in terms of his comments on Corbyn.
The Times lambasted Bragg as a “previously loyal supporter” and called him a tactical Lib Dem supporter “since 2001” (untrue, he voted Labour in 2015). Even more worryingly, The Times claimed that he stated that Corbyn is “unable to reach the parts of the electorate needed to build a political force.” Strange that they didn’t supply a quote to back that up or emphase that his opinion may well be linked to earlier comments on tribalism and proportional voting systems. Why let facts get in the way of an anti-Corbyn headline though, eh?
For me, two issues have been raised as a result of this article. Firstly, the increasing ineptitude and general laziness of once coveted broadsheets and secondly, the belief that any Corbyn supporter has to agree with the words of Jezza implicitly or otherwise be labelled a defector. God forbid that anyone uses their own brain. Pathetic, absolutely pathetic.
You see, the media are truly 20th century. They don’t understand the new media and free movement of information from a wide range of sources. They are lost. An analogue watch in a digital age.