‘Peace, bread, work and freedom to some degree preaching to the I i; ’15 the best we can achieve converted. It does annoy me but its ; And wearing badgesisnot enough very difficult to get outside that. In days likethese.' ; That’s why I think it‘s veryimportant .(Billy Bragg. ‘Days Like These‘). for us to get involved with people I 1985 was the year when pop put its . who don‘t necessarily identify :politics where its mouth is. It was themselves with politics. There are 3150 a Year Of infatuation With the ' plenty of people who probably feel SithCS (Yet againl~ from the Velvet that there should be a Labour 1

Underground to Ready Steady Go to Government or who are a bit 3 do think that there are quite a lot of

The Thunderbirds° The Comparisons disenchanted with what they‘ve seen ' between Woodstock and Live Aid

flew - and a few even mentioned the a

staggering difference. that the

mid-eighties are a time of

hard-headed realism. (‘Fuck the

address‘ just Send in the money) or people who feel that possibly what

of Labour and rightly think that the

record of the Labour Government “‘9”: “0 malterthe Pclsona' 3“!"5’ Red stars at night are edging out the Blues. Andrea ‘hcyd" “OW “mm “WWI “‘0 presiding over vague philosophistng. background they came from. I mean.

has been a bit iffy. [do think it‘s important to get bigger names and l

But the “Lemming Miller talks to Billy Bragg about Red Wedge; Neil we‘re working... one ofthe...“ humanitarianism of Band Aid wasn‘t Kinnock’s secret weapon . pinnacles ofcapitalism - Mrs the only pop political action ofthe . g .. ~ . . ._ lhatcher would be proud ofus all.

self-made men and women - but it doesn‘t mean that once you get a few bob that you turn a blind eye to everything you know to be true.‘ ()r feel to be true at any rate. ()ne of the foundations ofsocialism is free speech and the right to hold our own opinion. Carrying that thought through. in the wake of Red Wedge. what will come next as a Tory reply‘.’ Blue Rinse? ‘When the Tory Party start doing this you‘ll realise that we‘re making a dent. When Saatehi and Saatehi start talking about the youth vote and start taking the mickey out of pop stars. you‘ll realise how much ofan effect we're having. The only way they'll get any mileage j out ofthis is to sit back and take the

year. Some other political issues did \E‘ \ concern the young of the country - even if that youth were more familiar with governing and shadow cabinets through the Spitting Image dummies than through News At Ten. The two .most highly publicised. and hardest fought. campaigns though. were for the benefit ofstriking (and eventually. redundant) miners and for the prevention of the abolition of the Greater London Council - both iSsues which involved pop artists who had already made their political position clear. most notably. Paul L Weller. The Redskins and Billy Bragg, From the relative success of these actions and from an increasing Certainty on the part of Weller and ~ - ~‘ ~ Bragg that something more could be on January 30. I asked Billy Bragg


organ of the Labour Party that

piss. Idon‘tthink they‘llmanage to done. came the formation ofa just how Red Wedge got started. doesn‘t criticise some part or other of j get any bands to come and play for suprising alliance . ‘Over the last couple ofyears I the party - its always been the way to them. which is a shame because it Red wedge has a“ the enormity of personally was doing loads ofgigs for keep discussion going. I don‘t see i would be nice for some of the bands 3 simple idea and more slogans than people like the GLC and other city why. because we happen to be pro j to come clean.‘ me average Saatehi and Saatehi councils. Probably the GLC did the Labour Party. we have to toe ; The way ahead. as I said earlier. for campaign, The simplicity lies in its more mixtures of pop and political anybody‘s particular line. either 3 Red Wedge starts with this tour fundamental aim -thc bcljcfthat ‘a gigs wherebythe GLC put theirideas Militant’sline or Kinnock‘sorthat of (with dates still to be confirmed in Labour Party victory at the next across to people. and the whole anybody in between. We all remain Glasgow. Liverpool and London). general election is vita] to the wclfarc anti-abolition campaign aimed at individuals - I think everybody has a Every date is actually a day-long of young and o|d alikc‘, The young people was all done through different idea of what the Party event with meetings. speakers. enormity is the precedent that it sets POP mUSiC by putting on free gigs. I should be doing here and there. But D-l-Y sessions (on everything from *- never before have such a varying could see that the time was going to we all agree that the very worst film-making to rapping) and the selection of pop artist dared to enter come when they were going to be Labour government is better than opportunity to meet local Labour the very serious arena of Party abolished and I thought that the the very best Tory government and MPs and councillors. The gig at Politics (and note those capital ‘P‘s) Labour Party should really take up once you come to that conclusion 5 night. as Bragg describes it will he nor has any political party accepted that lesson 30 WC Went to then what do you do? You CithF Q ‘more in the way of a celebration at the initial access to youth that pop the Labour Party and said this and wait for Labour to become the the end of the day‘, bands can obtain. The days of the they had absolutely no means and no perfect Party or you have to get in Rod wedge is an ambitious protest singer as a political stance are grasp ofwhat pop music can do - or and get your hands dirty and I think project, Bragg is dctormincd~ over and in true eighties fashion its the part that itcan play-soitended thatthe luxury ofstanding back is enthusiasticand not a “me time to get down to some solid up with me and a few like-minded over - for me anyway.” ; single-minded about achieving at action. Those taking part in that people sitting round with people ‘lfl thought that the Labour Party 3 least some of the aims stated. "The action are - in alphabetical order of from the Labour Party who had done had all the right ideas I wouldn‘t best thing that could happen is that course - Animal Nightlife. stuffwith the GLC and we came up bother getting involved. It is we could elect a Labour ‘Bananarama. BillyBragg.Jill withthe idea of Red Wedge.‘ precisely because I thought they Government that is determined to Bryson (Strawberry Switchblade). Although everyone is commited to were going to miss chances and not ' take the opportunity to be as radical Lloyd Cole. Richard Coles. Jerry the idea ofa Labour government at grasp how young people feel as the (‘onservatives are. ’Ihat‘s Dammers. Ray Davies. Ben Elton. the next election. and in this initial alienated that I got involved.‘ I what I‘d like to see most out ofit. To Everything But the Girl. Dawn stage is funded in a small way by the Thai Bragg. Weller and many i see them as forthright about what french. Junior Giscombe. Heaven party (they hope to become others in the Wedgerama did get . they want and as determined to get it ‘1’7. Lenny Henry. Gary Kemp. D C self-supporting by the end of this first involved is to an extent predictable. as the current Governme nt - and as fL'ce. Madness. Zeke Manyeka. tour) Red Wedge cannot be simply ()ne of the main weaknesses ofthe unashamed of their acts. That‘s what Johnny Marr. Latin Quarter. Tom dismissed as last-ditch propaganda campaign is that at this early stage we want to campaign for. The worst Robinson. Sade. Jimi Somerville. for a party which. lets face it. has an the bulk of the artists involved are all thing that could happen is that we Dave Stewart. Helen Terry. Stephen extremely shaky public image and too well publicised as socialists ' could do these gigs. everyone would Tin Tin Duffy. Paul Wellerand who must win the youth vote at the (Gary Kemp is probably the most say what a great tour it was and then _ "Working Week. Paul Weller. Billy next election - a youth vote which. suprising addition to the list) giving 1 that would be it. with no carry after - {BraggJunior Giscombe. Lorna Gee Bragg agrees. thinksthat politicsis Red Wedge a feeling ofpreachingto. j that. I think that people can‘t fail to ; and The Communards go on a tour E boring. ‘We‘re not in the position of the converted. a self-defeating .5 be aware. just by reading the papers g this month - aptly named ‘Now i just spouting Labour Party policy I situation when their aim is to involve ! and watching the telly. Anybody l That‘s What I Call Socialism we‘re outside the Labour Party - as ! voters who haven‘t thought about i who doesn‘t reflect some ofwhat's V which reaches Edinburgh Playhouse , Junior Giscombc said we're ‘for politics on a personal level before. happening in their songs has got their ' (With special guest Tom Robinson) I rather than of'. I can‘t think ofany I ‘At any political gig. you are always l head in the sand.’ ?

8 The List 24 Jan 6 Feb