The Election Section #3


Yup, I had some booze and listened to the stuff on the last post. Busted. So here we are. Welcome back.

That Charlie Brooker one doesn’t really work without visuals too, does it? Well, you can judge for yourself here.

So, anyway here’s the next instalment in the political strand.

It would, of course, be impossible to talk about political records without mentioning Billy Bragg.

Now, I have a confession to make here. I love Billy Bragg (that’s not the confession). In my mind, he is one of the finest lyricists, if not one of the finest singers, of our age. His lyrics are usually witty, pithy, sensitive, touching, direct and educational (just one more, and I’d be able to rename the seven dwarfs. Although “Touching” sounds like one to avoid). For example, his second best known song (after A New England, which is more famous for the lovely and much missed Kirtsy MacColl’s version) has to be this, again kissed by the magic that was MacColl. And…er…by Phill Jupitus.

No, my confession is that I much prefer his love songs to his political songs. Listen to this and tell me that ain’t just beautiful. And this, one of the most poignant yet funny unrequited love songs you’ll hear this side of Jilted John. And yes, that’s Johnny Marr playing guitar in that way that only Johnny Marr can.

Sometimes his songs encompass both politics and love, like this: the greatest Billy Bragg song that Billy Bragg didn’t write.

But it is his political stuff that he is most known for, and I have to admit that listening to Billy when I was approaching the age to vote definitely had an effect on my own political persuasion, and, in defiance of those folks who say you get more right wing the older you get, I’m proud to report that almost 30 years later, I haven’t budged. Even if Tony Blair did turn out to be an illegal war-mongering lapdog to the Americans, at least he was OUR illegal war-mongering lapdog to the Americans.

Now let’s be honest, I could do several posts a day from now until the election and beyond and I wouldn’t run out of political Billy Bragg songs until the election comes around again in five years time. I’ve already posted four (well, three and a bit) and I haven’t even scraped the surface.

So which one to choose? I’m afraid I can’t narrow it down to just one. So, given that our rulers at the time of writing are a bunch of shiny faced Eton poshos intent on seeing their millionaire buddies are alright while the rest of us are “all in it together”, I give you two which seem appropriate:

  1. Billy Bragg – Ideology
  2. Billy Bragg – To Have and To Have Not

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