Forgive me dear reader for the break in service for 5 minutes. Today is undoubtedly the most important election of my lifetime. While you come here for your daily dose of americana and not to be lectured on which way you’re going to vote, I’ve written before that americana comes from a rich history of standing up for the underdog, and that its icons both present and past – Steve Earle, Johnny Cash, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger – have a pedigree of solidarity, community and resistance. Politics is about life, and music can’t bypass it without appearing irrelevant.
Theresa May has run one of the most miserable and shallow campaigns over the last 6 weeks based on soundbites and non-costed generalisms which offer no real hope for the future – just more of the same with the odd tweak. There is still more projected austerity ahead of us than we have behind us – with over a million people using foodbanks, the NHS at breaking point, our older folk with no security for their future and how they will be looked after, schools receiving record budget cuts and a police force which has taken such severe cuts that they now say that it hinders them in their ability to keep our streets safe.
It doesn’t have to be like this. The Labour Party manifesto may not be a perfect document but it is a document with fully costed ideas to change the way society is run – from the much needed extra investment in the health service and schools, a £10 minimum wage (remember the Tory scare stories in 1997 when the minimum wage was first brought in by Labour?), the outlawing of zero hour contracts, investment in a million new homes – even four extra bank holidays so we can spend a bit more time with friends and family and learn again to live to work, not work to live.
Don’t let Britain’s right-wing press panic you with their predictions of chaos and meltdown should Corbyn be elected. Power concedes nothing without a demand as the saying goes, and they are clearly scared shitless of their power and authority being challenged. In 1945, at the end of a ruinous war with unbelievable human cost, a broke Britain decided not to go with the war leader hero Churchill but for the modest Attlee with a vision for the country, and from that came the NHS, the welfare state and all the things which have held this country together as a decent society for the last 70 years, despite the attempts to subvert them. Today is your chance to give another modest man with a vision that same chance – if not for you yourself, then for our young people so they can be given the same opportunities as their parents and grandparents to be the best they can be.
Whoever you vote for today, even if it’s not for Labour, remember that the Tories’ whole plan relies on telling you that this is as good as it gets. It’s not true. Things can change for the better – you just need to believe it’s possible, and then do something about it.