As Labour promises to provide a £1 billion culture fund there is a real sense of Jeremy Corbyn and his party providing something more substantial for the arts, taking them more seriously than our present Government. With this in mind, Labour’s youngest MP, Danielle Rowley, invited Corbyn along with comedians, poets and musicians to create the awareness that Labour both embrace and support the arts.
It’s been a long time since a politician had the momentum that Jeremy Corbyn these days gets whenever he graces a stage. We all anticipate the riff of The White Stripes Seven Nation Army as a chorus of Oh, Jeremy Corbyn kicks in but I must admit that even with this degree of alternative indie cool, this is far from a usual Saturday night in Glasgow, as it pulls on our political responsibility, accountability and either reminds us of the disappointing times we presently face, or motivates us to do something about it.
The line-up is militant with poetry, music, comedy, and rallying. Tickle McNickle performed slam poetry about Cola, McDonalds and Palestine before Iona Lee, spoke to us lyrically on the topic of hangovers, more feminist issues such as the Tampon Tax, both expressive, strong performers with strong messages.
And if those were not burly enough then Declan Welsh got up for a sing song, and could be mistaken for Billy Bragg’s son, albeit making Bragg’s political message seem subtle. Singing about No Pasaran, highlighting his militancy, about being a white man in Palestine and various other topics, there is nothing in his content short of a message and he will gain reputation in his field, as a militant artist.
And then it was the man that everyone had been waiting for, after a moving speech from newly elected MP for Midlothian, Danielle Rowley, Corbyn himself came on stage and gave the kind of politically charged speech that still left questions but mobilised and rallied a room of people to at least question and reflect. He was clearly the reason the event sold out, as some had disbanded not long after.
Kate Smurthwaite had to follow the Ritzy protestors and this speech from the Labour Leader with her comedy and the night all concluded with Meursault and a stunning acoustic set from Neil Pennycook and Robyn Anne, which incorporated a stunning Viking Moses cover.
Now if we are to consider everyone that came on stage tonight, including Corbyn, Iona, Tickle, Declan and Danielle, we can see a real amalgamation of politics and the arts. And this is the real message of the evening that we ought to take home from Glasgow tonight, as we consider a political party that wants to invest in creative clusters across the country, designed to boost economic growth through culture. It’s fantastic to be reminded of the array of talent that resides within an industry that is often scoffed, and to be told by the Labour Leader that there are serious plans in place for the arts is a wipe to the brow. We need to step away from a culture of only rewarding the business, academic and technologically minded, and also appreciate the gifted talent that broadens our minds.