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Tom Watson writes for the NME on music and politics

By | Published on Wednesday 31 July 2013

Tom Watson

Labour MP Tom Watson caused a bit of a stir recently when he recommended that Ed Miliband listen to new-ish band Drenge in a resignation letter to his party’s leader. For one, the band themselves weren’t exactly overjoyed to have his backing. This delicate balance between liking something, and appearing to be trying to score points by association, is something Watson says he recognises, in a new article written for the NME.

Watson writes: “I believe politicians need to reach out to young people and music makers. Some MPs still go to gigs. Should more of them go to see live music performances? Probably, but only if they’re fans of music already. Because the essence of the relationship between music and its fans is honesty – it can’t be forced or faked… We all squirmed when David Cameron tried to pose as a Radiohead fan. It just doesn’t wash. Don’t even go there with The Jam and The Smiths. I’m still cringing at the thought of my old boss Gordon Brown listening to Arctic Monkeys on his iPod”.

So, it’s not for everyone. But there’s also a lot that all politicians can learn from how music connects with people, he says: “The greatest musicians, songwriters and leaders can communicate in a way that the press release factory of modern politics has failed to do. Music does not alienate with jargon, but instead brings the world together. Good music, like good politics, responds to real people and real emotions, and is never afraid of being honest”.

Which reminds me, David Cameron’s a right cocksack, isn’t he?