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On the road with Attila the Stockbroker Left unity, culturally and politically, is what it’s all about as summer takes hold

ONE of my favourite songs ever, featuring one of the great guitar riffs of all time, is the post-punk classic Shot By Both Sides by Magazine.

I’m playing it a lot at the moment, since it’s happened to me in the context of the ruling class’s latest frenzied attempts to reduce Labour support. In the resulting “debate” I’ve been simultaneously called an anti-semite and a swallower of zionist propaganda, both new ones on me.

Not by the same person, obviously, although just about anything is possible these days.
As with Brexit, my overriding feeling is simple. Let’s stop arguing among ourselves and concentrate on fighting the Tories, as we in East Worthing and Shoreham CLP have managed to do most effectively.

That’s why we’ve gone from 0 to 10 Labour councillors in Worthing in the last two years. Divide and rule never got anyone anywhere and the 1930s showed us what happens when the left is split.

I was back on the road with my band Barnstormer 1649 last weekend, firstly for a storming gig with the mighty Blyth Power at the Dublin Castle in Camden and from there a trip up the M1 for the band’s inaugural performance at the recently revived Wellingborough Diggers’ Festival.

It celebrates the second-largest of the 34 digging colonies who followed Gerrard Winstanley’s lead and claimed the earth as a “common treasury for all” in the years 1649-50.
Well done to Richard Lockwood and the other sterling souls who rescued the event from oblivion and made sure it continues alongside Wigan Diggers’ Festival and Levellers’ Day in Burford as a celebration and commemoration of an important period in our radical history.

For me, it was an emotional moment as I played my song Wellingborough and Wigan, dedicated to the local Diggers and to Winstanley’s birthplace, for the first time there.
There were excellent performances from local rockers Dawson Smith and the Dissenters and radical singer-songwriter Rob Matheson and a stirring speech from Northamptonshire County Councillor Anjona Roy. She should go on a speaking tour of local Labour Parties — she’d fire ’em up!
Our history is an important part of our culture on the left and this weekend sees another history-based event, the biggest one of all, celebrating the brave men and women who gave liberty and lives in the foundation of what became our trade union movement.

I’d like to wish all those going to Tolpuddle a happy and inspiring weekend.
I know it is a fantastic event because I read the reports and see the social media footage and countless people tell me so and ask me why I’m not playing there.

Have a great time, everyone, and I hope the sun shines for you. Pleased to see my friends Joe Solo, Les Carter, Naomi Bedford and Paul Simmonds and Elvis McGonagall on the bill.
Instead, last night I did a gig for another worthy cause, a fundraiser for Epping Forest Citizens’ Advice Bureau, one of many under threat due to funding shortages and the general impact of Tory austerity. It’s a disaster, since of course more and more people are needing help in these desperate times.

Next up is a very busy August, with Rebellion punk festival in Blackpool followed by a 10-day PBH Free Fringe stint in Edinburgh, my debut Early Music Show in the beautiful surroundings of St Cecilia’s Hall and a big Unity carnival at the Roadmenders in Northampton.
Enjoy the summer, fight the Tories, prepare for a general election! Because Johnson won’t get his Brexit bollocks through Parliament any more than May could hers and that will be the inevitable sequel.


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