Friends, listeners, supporters. Long-suffering, embattled comrades.
Well, we lost. The optimistic idealism of my last blog post still hovers on this page. It serves as a painful reminder of our defeat, like all of our Timehop apps, this week chirping so incongruously cheerfully that “5 years ago!” we mourned David Cameron taking undemocratic control of the country, with Nick Clegg riding shotgun. We thought the worst had happened. Five years on, we realise we were wrong. I feared more Tory-LibDem coalition. Never in my most outrageous nightmares did I think the electorate would return David Cameron to Downing Street with a majority, unbridled by any coalition partner, free to reign mercilessly and unchecked. No comfort was achieved by the utter decimation of the LibDems, even though I, along with every member of the 2010 student movement, had anticipated it for five years. It was a defeat without mitigation, the very last fuck-you from the Tories coming in Sheffield Hallam where Conservatives had organised tactical LibDem support to keep Nick Clegg from losing his seat, as he so richly deserved to do. Despite all the warnings and warrings, we Greens didn’t even manage to “split the vote” as we were threatened we would. There wasn’t enough of it to split. This is not a tactical error, strategy gone wrong. We lost. And – this is important – I say “we” because I mean “we”. No Green member or voter is pleased at this result. The left is a broad church with a common goal, and, in England at least, it is the left that lost. We lost because the right won.
If you’ve seen me at a gig in the last two years, there’s a good chance you will have heard me spout this old chestnut: “despite what they want you to believe, there are more good guys out there than bad guys.” It is no exaggeration to say it is a philosophy I have built my career upon. On Friday morning, I doubted both philosophy and career more than ever before.
This might seem like a strange time for me to announce the launch of my new, and more political than ever, record. Click here to PRE-ORDER FROM TODAY.
In 2013 you all supported me by buying Love Is My Rebellion, an album that was in large part a departure from political music that I called “the journey beyond protest singer”. It was mid-parliament, and I was exhausted. I felt like we’d been fighting cuts without success for so long and it seemed insurmountable. We couldn’t win. Now, in the wake of the most devastating Tory victory of my young life, I have come out of the shock and grief with more determination than ever that we absolutely MUST win in five years. To quote an unfortunate muse – there is no alternative. It is time for us to unite the left and win the argument for a fair society. To make sure there IS more good than bad in this country. To convince them the way to a fairer world is not by fighting each other for the crumbs the rich toss our way, but by coming together to demand a common good for all of us.
Perhaps protest songs help, perhaps they don’t, but if I have any skill that I can lend to the leftwing effort to both resist this evil government and to help elect a different one when the time comes, then writing and playing songs that can, in some small way, soundtrack the struggle is it.
My fourth studio album is called Whatever’s Left. It will be released on June 6th at a launch party at The Good Ship, Kilburn, with a Leicester launch party at The Guildhall on June 13th. Tickets for these are available from the Gigs page now.
You can pre-order it from this website as of today. As with all previous releases, the pre-orders allow me to actually get it made, so please please please support me in my unsigned tomfoolery and hopefully enough of you will want it that we can actually afford to press it. (I think if Alan Sugar witnessed this business model, I would be fired. The hell with him, it’s worked before.)
The first 100 copies will be signed and dated by me, AND if you are coming along to our launch party at the Good Ship on June 6th, you can choose to receive your copy on the night by just putting a note saying so in the little message to me box when you buy. If you pre-order from anywhere else you should receive the CD on or by the morning of June 6th.
This is the most dispiriting, most dangerous time for us. The temptation to give it all up and accept defeat will snap at your heels. The most vulnerable people in society who cannot fight for themselves will need you to keep going on their behalf. On the days that I talk about giving it all up and accepting defeat, please remind me of that too.
Yours always in solidarity,