Friday, August 11, 2023

Picking a side in the culture war

The culture wars are playing out everywhere this summer, including on our chilled out radio show. 

I hinted at this last week when the horrible right wing press cried crocodile tears over the death of Sinead O’Connor. The same lizards that will have mocked her mental illness, decried her efforts to expose injustice and sneered at her appearance.

I want the world to be nicer. I want people to be kind.

I would much rather we didn’t boil the planet and left somewhere habitable for our kids and grandkids.

I think my politics are pretty middle of the road, and all of the things I marched against in the 1980s when I was called a loony lefty, are pretty much accepted societal norms now. 

You know, not being a nazi, a racist, or being horrible to someone because of who they love.

Or arresting Irish people and throwing them in jail for crimes they haven’t done.

For me, music represents an opportunity to promote harmony, as well as occasionally being a voice for the voiceless. 

But the people who are fighting the culture war now are the perpetually angry, the frightened and confused who ended up winning a referendum in 2016 and don’t know what to do with the Brexit they won.

Stripped of one enemy without - those dratted eurocrats and bureaucrats - they are now constantly on the hunt for enemies within. Refugees, trans people, protestors, students, Mick Lynch.

The Daily Mail even publishes a Woke List. 

None of whom have been responsible for putting our energy bills up, or pumping sewage into our rivers, lakes and seas, or bringing the NHS to its knees and swollen the waiting lists to 7 million people.

None of them have pushed kids into food poverty, a mental health crisis and prevented our housing stock increasing to meet demand.

In the 80s when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister I had plenty of friends who were Tories because their parents had bought their council house, their Dad had started his own business and they thought they might make a few quid off British Telecom shares. 

She had a dream, however flawed and selfish, of people owning their own house or business.

Harry Enfield had a character, Loadsamoney, he symbolised the spirit.

Even bands and fanzines could claim an enterprise allowance to claw out of unemployment by another route. 

But what have we got now? 

A few years ago, the former local DJ and Peak District sauce seller Elliot Eastwick created a comedy character called Ged, as in ‘Get it Done’ (say it quickly). 

He wore a flat cap, drove a wagon and supported Brexit.

He thought Boris was great, because he would ‘get it done’. 

Whatever ‘it’ was.

But Ged was no more ridiculous than Lee Anderson, the Tory party deputy chairman. Railing at the “woke brigade”. 

Same with GB News, Nigel Farage, and that bloke from Stalybridge who writes long letters to this newspaper. 

As a conservative, what does Lee Anderson want to conserve?

What do they think is good about the country?  What does the party they support feel proud of after running the country for 13 years? 

But it’s worse than that, because the parody has become the reality. Spewing hate, like sewage into the sea, is all they’ve got.

I’m not laughing anymore. The culture war is real. And this radio show has picked a side.

And we’re going to win, do you know why? Because despite everything we’ve got the best artistic parodies, like Cold War Steve (pictured), the best comedy, which I’ll be enjoying in Edinburgh next week, and the best music. 

And what have you ever produced? Jim Davidson.

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