I am delighted to have completed an interview with the singer-songwriter and left-wing activist Billy Bragg, who famously covered the socialist anthem “The Red Flag.” I was interested to learn how he became involved in left-wing politics and his opinions on Jeremy Corbyn becoming the leader of the Labour Party.
- How important is it that young people take an interest in politics?
“Very important. This generation are looking likely to be the first since the war to grow up worse off than their parents. If they don’t start telling us about the pressure they feel under, then someone else will speak for them, most likely Michael Gove.”
- Why did you decide to become involved in left-wing activism?
“The first political movement I was involved with was Rock Against Racism in 1978. A neo-nazi party, the National Front had come third in local elections in London and we were marching in opposition to their racist views.”
- What are your thoughts on Jeremy Corbyn becoming the new leader of The Labour Party?
“I’m very encouraged. The enthusiasm that swept him to victory has the hallmarks of a new movement that engages people in the process of achieving radical change.”
- Do you think Labour can win the next General Election with Jeremy Corbyn as leader?
“While Corbyn is leader of the Labour Party, we live in a world of exciting possibilities. If none of those possibilities are realized, we will only have ourselves to blame.”
- What would you say to young people who think politics is boring and irrelevant to their lives?
“I thought that in 1979. The election that year was the first in which I had the opportunity to vote and I didn’t bother because I believed that all political parties were the same. Mrs Thatcher was elected and soon set about showing me how wrong I had been.”
- What has been the highlight of your activism so far?
“My highlight? The Red Wedge campaign of the late 1980s, when artists came together to fight against the Tories.”