Interview: The General Election with Fat White Family, Goat Girl, The Magic Gang and Drug Store Romeos

As the fallout dominates the airwaves, we edge ever closer to the General Election where the public will decide on who’ll govern for the next five years. Or maybe more like two?

Anyway, with the United Kingdom feeling more divided than it’s been for decades and it’s young people seemingly more politically engaged than ever before, in a series of interviews beginning with this one, we asked around the countries leading new bands, creatives and alternative artists to get a feel for how important the vote is to them, how they’ll be voting and why.

In the first of this series, we sent Fat White Family (London), Goat Girl (London), The Magic Gang (Brighton) and Drug Store Romeos (Fleet) the same questions with the invitation to be as thorough or short as they felt. Rants were as welcome as a blank space. Here’s the election according to them.

Is now the right time for a General Election?

Lias, Fat White Family: By the way it’s shaping up, and I think it’s shaping up to be a conservative majority, it’s hard to believe that it is really, but then what’s the alternative? I hope I’m wrong but it looks impossible for it to swing labours way, I guess now is as good a time as any to move onto a new, post Corbyn strategy. Bleak times. 

Lottie, Goat Girl: The timing of the general election felt pretty sudden, with seemingly such a short amount of time to prepare and campaign but despite this I also feel like it’s an exciting time for it to take place. Since the 2017 election, despite labour not gaining a majority in parliament they gained so much momentum and following that hadn’t existed before. I think this is definitely due to Corbynism and the new labour movement happening within the party that’s pushing out the centralists and making room for policies that represent the people of this country. 

Angus, The Magic Gang: I think now is as good a time as any to try an unseat Tory MPs and to try and prevent the dismantling of our NHS, the unfair distribution of wealth in our society and the hard Brexit that the Conservatives are trying to drive through.

Jonny, Drug Store Romeos: I personally don’t feel like it’s the best time for an election as all the major issues facing the country are going to take a back seat to Brexit. Since the election is being held in such a Brexit centred period of time, with deals coming through recently and talk of a second referendum rife, it’s undeniable that a large percentage of people will be voting based on this issue entirely, essentially casting their second referendum vote through a political party. This could be detrimental to the countries future if people aren’t able to focus on other issues with debatably larger impact upon individuals’ lives such as aligning policy with the scientific evidence coming through over the last few decades about global practices and their effects on the environment as well as income inequality and maintaining vital services such as the NHS. So essentially work out Brexit then have an election on who is best suited and focused on tackling all these issues.

How would you describe the state of the British politics?

Angus: Flawed, right down to our voting system, particularly for a general election. The fact that Boris Johnson could find himself with a majority in Parliament without receiving the majority of votes is not direct democracy.

Rosy, Goat Girl: From where I’m standing, I would say this is perhaps the first time that a labour win could actually take power away from the rich. The conservatives are so scared by this that they are revving up their dirty tactics which I find both scary and pathetic

Lottie: People are fed up and that is because they are constantly being failed by our current government. The conservative party will never have the public’s interests at heart, they will slash and cut everything that serves to protect and give stability to peoples lives to profit and gain for the wealthy few. This is and has been the current state of politics for a very long time and it can’t go on, we must cite change and that can only come through a Corbyn led labour government. 

Lias: Bad to worse. 5 to 10 years of Boris after a hard Brexit and Margaret Thatcher will suddenly start to look like Che Guevara. 

Jonny: Distracting, again I’d say that Brexit, something that isn’t by the looks of the deal to get out going to make our individual lives any better or our country any more advanced as a whole has swamped all other issues. It feels like if you want to be politically active at the moment you have to have something new to say on Brexit or you’re wasting everyone’s time even though again there are such huge things happening internationally.

When was the first time you voted and what made you want to do it?

Angus: 2015, it was the first general election I was old enough to vote in.

Lias: Like many people I was utterly disillusioned with Labour over the Iraq war and either abstained or voted Green until Corbyn. I think my first vote was in college about 15 years ago. 

Jonny: When was the first time you voted and what made you want to do it? I wasn’t old enough to vote in the last general election or referendum so my first vote was in my local council election, the reason I voted because I care about how policy affects my life and so kind of have to or I’m doing myself and everyone who shares my views a disservice.

Lottie: As soon as I was eligible to vote, which was the general election in 2015. I wanted to vote not only to have a say in my future but also to exercise my right to vote, something that I am very lucky and privileged to have, as many in this country have been stripped of this right. 

This election has been described as a Brexit Election, How do you feel about this and What is it about for you?

Rosy: I mean that’s a part of it for sure but it’s about so much more for me and a lot of other people. To me it’s about the chance of voting in an actual labour government that is for the people. It’s about the rise of the far-right and how to tackle that. It’s about equal opportunity and welfare in a country that can definitely afford it. It’s about the NHS. And it’s about people’s voices being heard and having an impact.

Lottie: I mean this election is only being held because of Boris Johnson being unable to pass his no-deal Brexit in parliament, so of course he’s going to do everything in his power to make it about that. He knows that this appeals to people who “just want Brexit done”, whose lives will consequently be ruined by the privatisation of our national health services and the stripping away of working peoples rights. The only way to fight this is to vote for Labour and their Brexit strategy which is to negotiate a deal and then put it back to the public to vote on in a second referendum, meaning that people who want to leave get a Brexit that isn’t primarily about the rich and their interests. 

Lias: Although I voted remain I concede that at this point there has to be some form of Brexit, it’d be too damaging to not bother at this point, politically. I’m no europhile and I can see there’s an argument on both sides. It’s not really the big issue for me, the welfare state and it’s continued dismantlement being of a much greater concern. 

Angus: Of course Brexit will dominate the narrative of this election, I think each of the major parties’ stance on Brexit is very clear but I think we need to look beyond this. It’s incredibly frustrating that the vote leave crew try to argue that a second referendum or even remaining in the EU would be anti democratic. Democracy is an ongoing process, it always has been and always will be. Should we just stop having general elections because we had one in 2017? No, didn’t think so…

Jonny: For me this, and all elections should be about policy and trust. What do they say they want to do? Do I trust their intentions? I hear a lot of political talk about ‘effective leaders’ but for me I’d never go with someone who is really good at getting things I don’t want done, over someone who is trying to pursue policies I believe in but isn’t as effective at doing so.

How often do you speak about politics and who with?

Jonny: Often but mostly with my parents. My dad is from Nottingham area and grew up with essentially socialist ideology, where as my mum came from a working class family from down south but who had more traditional conservative views and so was concervative right up until i went to college, studied politics and came back spouting hundreds of arguments about how Conservative policy comes from Conservative ideology which at it’s core believes in keeping life the way it is and preventing change wherever possible which is against the notion that we should strive to change for the better. I also explained that as such Conservatives have often found themselves on the wrong side of history in terms of social housing, healthcare and even racial issues. She refuses to admit my dad might have been right so now votes lib dem or green.

Lias: I speak about it all the time with all and sundry but I’ve become far more disillusioned with it than ever before, I’ll go out and vote Labour and encourage others to do the same, but my outlook these days really amounts to little more than despair! 

Angus: Every day, with my partner, friends and family.

Rosy: Quite a lot, I’m surrounded by loads of inspiring people who are very politically active. However this can sometimes mislead you about how the rest of the country actually thinks. So I’ve been trying to reach out to people that aren’t in my liberal bubble by canvassing in marginal constituencies. A lot of people are really fed up (as am I) so I think it’s important to have conversations with them and try to show them that their vote is really important.

Has anything come close to putting you off voting this time around?

Lottie: Definitely not, now is the most important time to vote. Make sure you have registered to vote by 26th November, and if you want to vote by post 5pm on the 26th. Also if you haven’t already and would like to get involved check out labours website to find canvassing events near you. Lets get the tory scum out once and for all!!!

Lias: There are a great many things I despise about the left these days, a kind of moral superiority emanating from a largely middle class metropolitan ilk, it seems the very people they need to sway to win they are happy to let drift. A lot of it is contradictory, hypocritical and when you look at it from a certain angle, riddled with class prejudice. That being said, it is still not even a question in my mind who the right side to vote for is on this one. The Tories are waging a war on normal people.  

Angus: No, you should always exercise your right to vote.

Jonny: The only reason I wouldn’t vote would be because I felt like the first past the post system is too inherently wrong and my vote would be meaningless in such a conservative strong seat as my town is. But then I remember from my politics lessons that if you spoil your ballot it counts as a protest vote and the number of protest votes is kept track of to keep an eye on political dissatisfaction across the years so it’s always worth doing something. Also finally if your not voting because you don’t feel like you know enough about the wide range of issues involved remember that most people also don’t know very much about this shit either but they could be going out and voting on your future based of the few articles they’ve read in their chosen media outlet. So vote how I’m telling you cos I’m the media outlet that your reading and I’m right so feel full of pride and empty of facts and go make your vote! On a serious note if you care a little about anything, say you believe in climate change, then just vote for someone you believe wants to make positive change in that field.

Who will you be voting for this General Election?

Lias: I’ll be voting for Labour

Angus: Labour

Rosy: Labour #JC4PM

Lottie: LABOUR!!

Jonny: So as I’m guessing you can tell I’m voting Labour. Under FPTP we are stuck in a two party system, so for me it’s blues vs reds. And when I look at both candidates I feel like not only is Jeremy more passionate about disabling the poverty trap and institutionalised hierarchy, tackling the climate crisis as well as protecting the NHS and other vital services i also just trust him more. I believe that if he lost he would still spend the rest of his time on earth fighting for what he believes is a better world, as opposed to Boris who seems to enjoy press attention and his time in the spotlight more than making a better day to day life for individual people. He’d probably be presenting Have I Got News For You and laughing at the shit show that was Brexit before they’d even got someone new into office.

Is there one specific policy which sways it?

Lias: Take your pick! It’s disgusting what’s happened in this country since the tories took the helm. It seems like it’s going to go on forever. So so bleak. 

Angus: I think Labour’s Green New Deal is the most important policy for me, I’m unsure as to why other people don’t feel similarly.

Lottie: All of Labour’s policies sway it for me, they put the care for humanity at the forefront, this isn’t radical it’s what we should expect! here are a few to get excited about: a green new deal, £10 living wage for all ages, ending indefinite detention for migrants, a 4 day working week, end homelessness, nationalising rail services.

Rosy: I mean there are so many…

Raising the national living wage to £10, Abolishing tuition fees, Closing detention centres, Nationalising public services, Rent control, Free movement.

Jonny: Well if Boris said that he had plastic eating bateria and that he would levy a tax at the level where every kg of carbon emitted could be counteracted by using said tax revenue to plant trees to recycle the carbon back into oxygen creating a carbon neutral country within 2 years and Jeremy went ‘nah fuck the environment lets bring back the industrial revolution’ then maybe but if not I’d have to say that I couldn’t be swayed from my ideological roots.