Tuesday, 5 April 2016


"Parliament under a Corbyn government, May 2020"

Today it was announced that Jeremy Corbyn has accepted an invitation to speak at this year's Glastonbury Festival.

It's an interesting move, but I'm not convinced it's the most tactically sound.

Whilst it's great he's embracing youth culture and stirring those who might typically be disenfranchised from politics, it's also the Left's stereotyped association with artists/hippies/druggies and general bohemian-types that makes half the country vote Right!

There's really nothing in this world as synonymous with that bohemian spirit as Glastonbury. So when those voters see inevitable footage of thousands upon thousands of people (fitting that exact description) soaked to the skin in a concoction of mud, rain, sweat and their own excrement chanting Jeremy Corbyn's name and going bat-shit crazy in a mosh-pit, make no mistake - it will terrify them to their very core.

The Right wing media will use it to crippling effect. I can predict the headlines now: certainly there'll be pictures of revellers in highly compromising and inebriated states, dancing around like idiots or behaving recklessly (a bit like the one I've posted), splashed on a front page with a tag-line to the effect of "these are the people who vote for Jeremy Corbyn, you don't want to put them in charge, do you????"

Worse still, it will be quite effective.

The Labour Party should perhaps be careful that in the process of pursuing new voters, they don't totally alienate those who already do, or mainstream Britain as a whole. Even a traditional Tory voter finally wising up to the evils of this government might be very put off by the decision, and swayed back to the Conservative camp. (My late mum, an educated woman born in the era of WWII, would certainly have been one of them.)

Matters as personal as cultural taste and musical identity should perhaps be avoided in politics for that very reason. Picture an upper class politician, addressing the more privileged audiences who might attend something like the English National Opera or Ascot: would that not be equally loathsome for some? By showing specific allegiance to a particular group, you alienate those at the other end of the spectrum. At least, that's what happens when politics become irrevocably tribal. Effectively we're forced to support one of 2-4 competing football teams, and as with football, voters usually pick their team according to where they live, who their family/friends support, and who they more identify with. They'll then stick with that team, even if they consistently lose - or take on weak and unpopular players/managers. The last thing it's usually to do with is competence of the men on that particular team, or a genuine admiration of footballing skill.

In the same way, political identity is influenced almost entirely by instinct and social convention - as opposed to pesky concerns such as what's morally correct or prudent in any given situation. True democracy would be voting on governmental policy on a case-by-case basis, decided by a populous and politicians unencumbered of the title either "Montague or Capulet". Back in the real world though, Jeremy Corbyn will be construed as identifying with one against the other.

Not to mention of course, there may be a good many attending Glastonbury who have no interest or political stance whatsoever; people who actively want to escape tedious complications of the real world. That is their right. There might even be the odd Tory voter present - they're liable to be found in a VIP area somewhere away from the commoners, wearing a monocle and scoffing on pheasant pate. And one could possibly argue even misguided/pitiless agents of the damned have the right to not have politics forced down their throat at a music festival.

Therefore, maybe we should just keep it simple, and leave music festivals for music fans. They're one of the few sacred things left. I say that as both a devoted music fan, and a self-confessed Left-leaning political ranter.

1 comment:

  1. Very difficult to quantify nett gains/losses from such decisions. Most older voters will gave already made up their minds about Corbyn, although a smaller number of the undecided may well drift to the tories in response to biased press using this. On the other hand, if the 'connected' younger vote can be engaged in support of Corbyn this may well more than offset these losses. I guess that is how JC or his advisors are thinking.