I am writing this on the day before the 2017 General Election, called some six weeks ago by our Prime Minister as a means of shoring up her authority and bargaining power for the Brexit negotiations to come. At the time it was called I thought that, although she had said many times that she would not call one, it was a pretty astute political move that would undoubtedly achieve its aim. I would, I thought, sit this one out given that it was a foregone conclusion.
A foregone conclusion because despite my perceived paucity of the Tory offer, little was being offered by the other parties either; certainly nothing that would suggest anything but a coronation and five more years of austerity and general nastiness.
Well it still may very well go that way but around two weeks into the campaign someone leaked the Labour manifesto and I thought it was the best thing I had seen in many a year. It’s contents and general direction chimed with my values and my sense that, living and volunteering in a deprived area of Sheffield, it would make a real difference to the lives of people who have been conveniently forgotten by the Tories. It was coherent, costed and made sense to me.
Jump a week and the Tory manifesto came out… cue panic within that party as the true consequences of the ‘Dementia Tax’ became apparent and a hasty u-turn was effected. This was a manifesto that did not seem to have a central vision attached to it. It seemed to my, admittedly biased, eyes that this was a document borne of hubris… a selection box of policies that had not actually been that well thought through. It was a document that was light on both promise and promises… a document that said ‘trust us’, ‘vote for us and we’ll do the right thing’, ‘look at our record’. Well I have looked at their record and that’s why I’m worried.
From then on I went from being passive about this election to being passionate about Labour winning. But what of the leaders. I have to admit that I had begun to lose faith in Jeremy Corbyn thinking him ineffectual as a leader and rather too left wing for my tastes (I’m probably a more liberal than socialist). Had I been affected by the media bias against him over the last two years? Quite possibly… nevertheless I have been very impressed with the way that he has conducted himself during this campaign. I like the way that he has pragmatically accepted certain policies that are the will of the party, but do not match his own (contrasting with the way that the Prime Minister is dictating, and not listening, to her party). I like the way that he has been willing to debate and enact a much more open campaign than his opponent; that and talk of tearing up Human Rights legislation which sets off all sorts of dystopian alarm bells for me.
Most of all I like Corbyn’s open and peaceful vision of the world and our place in it. I like how he is looking to find points of agreement with others, including those that he fundamentally disagrees with, rather than immediately putting up barriers and appearing hostile as his opponent seems likely to do. Call me naïve if you want but surely we need to begin to look at the world and our place in it in a different way, because the current way certainly ain’t working.
Much of the music I’ve listened to this year has been political, this is a musical blog after all. There have been key albums from such as Dead Sea Apes, The Janitors, GNOD and Heroin in Tahiti that have in different reflected the times in which we live; and very much reflected my thoughts about them. Nowhere has this been more the case than in the Dead Sea Apes’ performance of ‘In The Year 2039’ with Adam Stone that I talked about earlier this year; around the time of Trump’s inauguration.
Now we find ourselves at another political turning point and Cardinal Fuzz are putting that performance out as a ‘one-sided’ 12″, wonderfully remastered by the Dead Sea Apes’ own Chris Hardman. Whether this Election marks another step towards ‘2039’ only time will tell, but the fall out from the result will surely resonate far further than the average Election over the last few years… this is a time when we seem to be on the path to somewhere in a way that we haven’t done for decades, let’s hope it’s not to Stone’s nightmarish dystopia…
In addition the Dead Sea Apes are also putting out a very limited 7″, ‘Central Nervous System‘ as a companion piece to the amazing ‘Sixth Side of the Pentagon’ album. This, and ‘In The Year 2039’ are available to pre-order from Cardinal Fuzz soon both separately and as part of a bundle.