Fighting the Fascists

Another weekend, another @billybragg gig.


After taking on the RBS bankers at Speaker’s Corner, and then offering real redemption for prison inmates, it was Back to Basics with Billy Bragg, and back to the day job for a ULU gig on Saturday night.

Sort of.

The show was in support of raising funds for fighting the BNP at the general election. It’s the kind of gig that Bill has put himself up for throughout the past twenty-five years.

You need funds to fight the forces that want to upset our social cohesion. It also helps to have a one-man band full of charisma to spread the message, and one who has resolutely refused to compromise and allow his principles to be diluted.

I often watch Billy Bragg and come away wishing that our politicians were more like him. But it’s a messy business politics. It’s all about power, posturing and back scratching. Billy Bragg deserves better.

The gig itself was Billy Bragg at his best. There’s nowhere to hide on stage for one man and his guitar. The set mixed up Life’s a Riot with Brewing Up and even some Mermaid Avenue.

The message was anti-fascism, pro-compassion and a belief in community. Politicians have changed policies, and big business has taken control of our society over the past quarter of a century. The solution remains the same. Billy Bragg put it across perfectly on stage at ULU on Saturday night.

In the absence of any political party being brave enough to put forward a genuinely progressive agenda ahead of the election, it’s a sorry state for democracy when we have to rely on a pop star to raise the profiles of the issues that matter.

Billy Bragg’s tireless campaigning against the payment of million pound plus bonuses to the bankers of the nationalised RBS Bank, has forced politicians to debate the issue.

But Saturday night at ULU was all about stopping the BNP in Barking and Dagenham, Bill’s home patch. With the general election nothing but a “wishy washy choice between two parties that are the same,” the real issue in Essex is stopping the fascists.

It is here where BNP thug Nick Griffin is trying to get elected as an MP with a mandate for racism. With the Labour party weak on the ground, now is the time to expose the BNP for all the hatred that it represents.

April 17th is a key day in the constituency. It has been put aside to campaign against the fascists that want to take control of Barking and Dagenham. Put aside serious concerns over Tory funding, Nu Labour’s love affair with big business and the LibDems, well, I’m not entirely sure about anything to do with the LibDems – fighting fascists in the crucial battle at the general election.

As yer man said on Saturday night:

“Wearing badges is not enough, in days like these.”


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