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  • THE THETag Archive for "Inside Job" -
    aligned with the foreign policy aims of Western governments that much of their output amounts to little more than state stenography A more accurate description of this monolithic corporate media would be Ministry of Propaganda and a more accurate description of many of its journalists would be to quote Gerald Celente presstitutes Lately this output has become an Orwellian parody as illegal invasions and seizures of the resources of sovereign nations by the West are passed off with a perfectly straight face as spreading our cherished values of freedom democracy and human rights Citizens of these nations are to be bombed by NATO for their own protection of course Such malignant schemes delivering democracy to a country at gunpoint whilst thieving its resources are obviously long in the plotting and a complicit media is therefore essential to keep the wool pulled firmly over the eyes of the population of the aggressor nation As unrest is fomented on the ground of the target country on cue the Western media begin beating the drums for war in the guise of humanitarian intervention and public opinion is consequently dragged into line like a dog on a leash In Britain the BBC despite a previous worthy attempt to take the Blair government to task over the dodgy dossier affair that helped launch the illegal invasion of Iraq has since been castrated Their coverage of the recent attack upon Libya and the true motives behind it was worse than useless and misled the British public throughout It is now left to independent journalists and other outsiders speaking through the growing alternative media and the Internet to alert and inform the general public But how long until the Internet itself is under assault What will be the excuse to control it I wonder Terrorism Fraud Pornography National Security So will we ever discover who was really behind 9 11 My own feeling is that we know a seed by its fruit and it s now clear for all to see the grotesque varieties dangling from the vast tree of death that has emerged from the footprints of the Twin Towers To know who planted the seed we must simply ask ourselves whose interests have been best served in the decade since 9 11 A decade of near psychopathic aggression and imperial adventure by America aided by Britain and Israel which has borne Guantanamo Bay Abu Gharib illegal US NATO invasions of sovereign nations routine violations of the Geneva Convention extraordinary renditions torture secret CIA prisons water boarding totalitarian police state measures the Patriot Act the Department of Homeland Security the Bill of Rights shredded the loss of habeas corpus NSA wiretaps TSA groping innocent citizens regularly labelled potential terrorists a population kept in a state of frenzied fear and herded like sheep The list is virtually endless and the America many of us once loved is now descending at an increasing pace into a corporate fascist state Who can doubt that the entire post 9 11

    Original URL path: http://www.thethe.com/news/tag/inside-job/ (2016-02-12)
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  • THE THETag Archive for "New York" -
    aligned with the foreign policy aims of Western governments that much of their output amounts to little more than state stenography A more accurate description of this monolithic corporate media would be Ministry of Propaganda and a more accurate description of many of its journalists would be to quote Gerald Celente presstitutes Lately this output has become an Orwellian parody as illegal invasions and seizures of the resources of sovereign nations by the West are passed off with a perfectly straight face as spreading our cherished values of freedom democracy and human rights Citizens of these nations are to be bombed by NATO for their own protection of course Such malignant schemes delivering democracy to a country at gunpoint whilst thieving its resources are obviously long in the plotting and a complicit media is therefore essential to keep the wool pulled firmly over the eyes of the population of the aggressor nation As unrest is fomented on the ground of the target country on cue the Western media begin beating the drums for war in the guise of humanitarian intervention and public opinion is consequently dragged into line like a dog on a leash In Britain the BBC despite a previous worthy attempt to take the Blair government to task over the dodgy dossier affair that helped launch the illegal invasion of Iraq has since been castrated Their coverage of the recent attack upon Libya and the true motives behind it was worse than useless and misled the British public throughout It is now left to independent journalists and other outsiders speaking through the growing alternative media and the Internet to alert and inform the general public But how long until the Internet itself is under assault What will be the excuse to control it I wonder Terrorism Fraud Pornography National Security So will we ever discover who was really behind 9 11 My own feeling is that we know a seed by its fruit and it s now clear for all to see the grotesque varieties dangling from the vast tree of death that has emerged from the footprints of the Twin Towers To know who planted the seed we must simply ask ourselves whose interests have been best served in the decade since 9 11 A decade of near psychopathic aggression and imperial adventure by America aided by Britain and Israel which has borne Guantanamo Bay Abu Gharib illegal US NATO invasions of sovereign nations routine violations of the Geneva Convention extraordinary renditions torture secret CIA prisons water boarding totalitarian police state measures the Patriot Act the Department of Homeland Security the Bill of Rights shredded the loss of habeas corpus NSA wiretaps TSA groping innocent citizens regularly labelled potential terrorists a population kept in a state of frenzied fear and herded like sheep The list is virtually endless and the America many of us once loved is now descending at an increasing pace into a corporate fascist state Who can doubt that the entire post 9 11

    Original URL path: http://www.thethe.com/news/tag/new-york/ (2016-02-12)
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  • THE THETag Archive for "NWO" -
    with the foreign policy aims of Western governments that much of their output amounts to little more than state stenography A more accurate description of this monolithic corporate media would be Ministry of Propaganda and a more accurate description of many of its journalists would be to quote Gerald Celente presstitutes Lately this output has become an Orwellian parody as illegal invasions and seizures of the resources of sovereign nations by the West are passed off with a perfectly straight face as spreading our cherished values of freedom democracy and human rights Citizens of these nations are to be bombed by NATO for their own protection of course Such malignant schemes delivering democracy to a country at gunpoint whilst thieving its resources are obviously long in the plotting and a complicit media is therefore essential to keep the wool pulled firmly over the eyes of the population of the aggressor nation As unrest is fomented on the ground of the target country on cue the Western media begin beating the drums for war in the guise of humanitarian intervention and public opinion is consequently dragged into line like a dog on a leash In Britain the BBC despite a previous worthy attempt to take the Blair government to task over the dodgy dossier affair that helped launch the illegal invasion of Iraq has since been castrated Their coverage of the recent attack upon Libya and the true motives behind it was worse than useless and misled the British public throughout It is now left to independent journalists and other outsiders speaking through the growing alternative media and the Internet to alert and inform the general public But how long until the Internet itself is under assault What will be the excuse to control it I wonder Terrorism Fraud Pornography National Security So will we ever discover who was really behind 9 11 My own feeling is that we know a seed by its fruit and it s now clear for all to see the grotesque varieties dangling from the vast tree of death that has emerged from the footprints of the Twin Towers To know who planted the seed we must simply ask ourselves whose interests have been best served in the decade since 9 11 A decade of near psychopathic aggression and imperial adventure by America aided by Britain and Israel which has borne Guantanamo Bay Abu Gharib illegal US NATO invasions of sovereign nations routine violations of the Geneva Convention extraordinary renditions torture secret CIA prisons water boarding totalitarian police state measures the Patriot Act the Department of Homeland Security the Bill of Rights shredded the loss of habeas corpus NSA wiretaps TSA groping innocent citizens regularly labelled potential terrorists a population kept in a state of frenzied fear and herded like sheep The list is virtually endless and the America many of us once loved is now descending at an increasing pace into a corporate fascist state Who can doubt that the entire post 9 11 agenda

    Original URL path: http://www.thethe.com/news/tag/nwo/ (2016-02-12)
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  • THE THETag Archive for "Twin Towers" -
    aligned with the foreign policy aims of Western governments that much of their output amounts to little more than state stenography A more accurate description of this monolithic corporate media would be Ministry of Propaganda and a more accurate description of many of its journalists would be to quote Gerald Celente presstitutes Lately this output has become an Orwellian parody as illegal invasions and seizures of the resources of sovereign nations by the West are passed off with a perfectly straight face as spreading our cherished values of freedom democracy and human rights Citizens of these nations are to be bombed by NATO for their own protection of course Such malignant schemes delivering democracy to a country at gunpoint whilst thieving its resources are obviously long in the plotting and a complicit media is therefore essential to keep the wool pulled firmly over the eyes of the population of the aggressor nation As unrest is fomented on the ground of the target country on cue the Western media begin beating the drums for war in the guise of humanitarian intervention and public opinion is consequently dragged into line like a dog on a leash In Britain the BBC despite a previous worthy attempt to take the Blair government to task over the dodgy dossier affair that helped launch the illegal invasion of Iraq has since been castrated Their coverage of the recent attack upon Libya and the true motives behind it was worse than useless and misled the British public throughout It is now left to independent journalists and other outsiders speaking through the growing alternative media and the Internet to alert and inform the general public But how long until the Internet itself is under assault What will be the excuse to control it I wonder Terrorism Fraud Pornography National Security So will we ever discover who was really behind 9 11 My own feeling is that we know a seed by its fruit and it s now clear for all to see the grotesque varieties dangling from the vast tree of death that has emerged from the footprints of the Twin Towers To know who planted the seed we must simply ask ourselves whose interests have been best served in the decade since 9 11 A decade of near psychopathic aggression and imperial adventure by America aided by Britain and Israel which has borne Guantanamo Bay Abu Gharib illegal US NATO invasions of sovereign nations routine violations of the Geneva Convention extraordinary renditions torture secret CIA prisons water boarding totalitarian police state measures the Patriot Act the Department of Homeland Security the Bill of Rights shredded the loss of habeas corpus NSA wiretaps TSA groping innocent citizens regularly labelled potential terrorists a population kept in a state of frenzied fear and herded like sheep The list is virtually endless and the America many of us once loved is now descending at an increasing pace into a corporate fascist state Who can doubt that the entire post 9 11

    Original URL path: http://www.thethe.com/news/tag/twin-towers/ (2016-02-12)
    Open archived version from archive

  • THE THETag Archive for "World Trade Centre" -
    aligned with the foreign policy aims of Western governments that much of their output amounts to little more than state stenography A more accurate description of this monolithic corporate media would be Ministry of Propaganda and a more accurate description of many of its journalists would be to quote Gerald Celente presstitutes Lately this output has become an Orwellian parody as illegal invasions and seizures of the resources of sovereign nations by the West are passed off with a perfectly straight face as spreading our cherished values of freedom democracy and human rights Citizens of these nations are to be bombed by NATO for their own protection of course Such malignant schemes delivering democracy to a country at gunpoint whilst thieving its resources are obviously long in the plotting and a complicit media is therefore essential to keep the wool pulled firmly over the eyes of the population of the aggressor nation As unrest is fomented on the ground of the target country on cue the Western media begin beating the drums for war in the guise of humanitarian intervention and public opinion is consequently dragged into line like a dog on a leash In Britain the BBC despite a previous worthy attempt to take the Blair government to task over the dodgy dossier affair that helped launch the illegal invasion of Iraq has since been castrated Their coverage of the recent attack upon Libya and the true motives behind it was worse than useless and misled the British public throughout It is now left to independent journalists and other outsiders speaking through the growing alternative media and the Internet to alert and inform the general public But how long until the Internet itself is under assault What will be the excuse to control it I wonder Terrorism Fraud Pornography National Security So will we ever discover who was really behind 9 11 My own feeling is that we know a seed by its fruit and it s now clear for all to see the grotesque varieties dangling from the vast tree of death that has emerged from the footprints of the Twin Towers To know who planted the seed we must simply ask ourselves whose interests have been best served in the decade since 9 11 A decade of near psychopathic aggression and imperial adventure by America aided by Britain and Israel which has borne Guantanamo Bay Abu Gharib illegal US NATO invasions of sovereign nations routine violations of the Geneva Convention extraordinary renditions torture secret CIA prisons water boarding totalitarian police state measures the Patriot Act the Department of Homeland Security the Bill of Rights shredded the loss of habeas corpus NSA wiretaps TSA groping innocent citizens regularly labelled potential terrorists a population kept in a state of frenzied fear and herded like sheep The list is virtually endless and the America many of us once loved is now descending at an increasing pace into a corporate fascist state Who can doubt that the entire post 9 11

    Original URL path: http://www.thethe.com/news/tag/world-trade-centre/ (2016-02-12)
    Open archived version from archive

  • THE THETag Archive for "200%" -
    to try to understand and back up what I m trying to say 200 Is there anything particular you want to achieve with your political songs Matt Johnson Just to get things off my chest I suppose To help temporarily ease a growing sense of political impotence Of course it would be wonderful to write a song that really captured the moment and expressed what was on a lot of peoples minds but most people are probably not as interested in the subjects and scenarios that fascinate and vex me It s really a hit and miss affair 200 Have you got the idea that songs with political lyrics can change the world Matt Johnson No I don t think that at all There may have been a moment in the 1960 s where people thought this may have been possible but I think that moment has long gone As I mentioned before popular music on the whole has now been absorbed into corporate culture homogenised and sold back to the public as just another safe sanitised form of entertainment Nevertheless I do think a great song can provide a certain focal point but any lasting change has to come about by mass movement as in the earlier example of Strange Fruit and the anti lynching and civil rights movements and not by a single individual s contribution Songs and music are just threads in the wider fabric of our culture not the fabric itself I don t believe in figureheads but I do believe in mass movements As soon as you have figureheads and personality cults you have the poison of ego megalomania and the struggle for power That s where the trouble starts 200 Which political issue in the world screams for a political song right now Matt Johnson My goodness there are lots of issues that young songwriters should be chomping at the bit to tackle Of course it all depends on perspective though as there are British issues on the one hand and more global concerns on the other But for a start The War on Terror and trying to understand how we got to where we now are Continued foreign intervention in the affairs of many of these Middle East countries has led to much of the rage we now feel directed towards the West We should really be trying to see things from the perspective of our so called enemies and what has radicalised them and not hiding behind simplistic war slogans and feeding the flames of mutual mistrust The brazen political hypocrisy of our leaders We continually hear the mantra of no negotiation with terrorists So they just arm and support them instead Remember the Contras And who sold Saddam Hussein his weapons But what about the negotiations with the ANC IRA and PLO Even George Washington was considered a terrorist by the British at one point Dialogue is the only way forward Just begin it before even more innocent lives are lost But you may have noticed that the Bush Administration always attaches impossible preconditions to the prospects of any talks with countries like Iran and Syria even though ultimately talks are the only way forward The problem for the West and the world actually is that we re saddled with a US president who is so far out of his depth in terms of worldliness vision statesmanship or even basic common sense Let s just pray the next one is better Climate change Well time is running out as fast as the snows on Kilimanjaro with this one What to do except batten down the hatches or head for the high ground The bastardisation of our political vocabulary This dreadful management marketing advertising jargon which has infected our language Political debate seems shrouded in euphemisms For example Enterprise Culture and Consumer Choice really mean deregulation of the rules for big business to make even bigger profits Flexible Labour Markets really means being able to shut factories down at a moment s notice and ship all the jobs off to countries with low cost non unionised workforces Free Trade really means poor countries forced to open up their markets while the rich ones keep their s closed Entrepreneurial Spirit really means self serving guilt free greed Not to mention all these ridiculous buzz words the politicians and corporations insist on using such as Brand and Content etc and we haven t even got onto the way we ve been sneakily turned from citizens into consumers and from passengers or patients into customers when using public transport or the NHS There are people that actually get paid a fortune for dreaming up this claptrap this relentless nonsensical drivel The vocabulary for political discourse now has to be reinvented somehow We need to redefine what words like democracy socialism and freedom really mean For instance take democracy On the one hand in America you can only run for President if you have several hundred million dollars worth of corporate funding in your pocket So how seriously compromised is anyone that runs for President It s absurd On the other hand The Palestinians voted in Hamas on a popular vote in fair elections yet it doesn t count because the Americans Israelis and British don t like it Are these really the sort of definitions of democratic values the West wishes to project across the globe That money counts for everything And that the range within which democracy must function is so narrow that only certain types of political discourse will ever be allowed The rampant greed of corporations the corruption of our political system by cash and the subsequent distorting of truth by the paid consultants and experts of wealthy lobby groups In Britain we seem to be selling off of everything for foreign ownership From state assets like water electricity gas airports ports defence contractors even the London stock exchange Premiership football clubs large swathes of our housing stock not to mention our food companies and farms Nothing is secure from being sold off in UK PLC But what amazes me is that it barely raises an eyebrow I don t know whether this vast sell off will be good or bad in the long term but surely it is worth discussing in some detail To try working out where this is all leading us Yet it gets barely a mention There is no analysis at all about what this actually means for the country in the long run All you ever hear are the business news commentators telling us in breathless tones what a great deal for the shareholders this deal or that is going to be No mention of the other costs involved in the short and long term to the country and it s population The fact that we no longer own much of our own energy water airports ports what does this all really mean Maybe it doesn t matter at all but wouldn t it be nice if someone were to start seriously asking the question This all started out in the 1980 s as supposedly selling the State s assets back to the British people But it was a vast con trick The British public already owned it all They were just being conned into being middle men between the government and big business Soon the government ministers responsible for the various privatisation deals were being offered lavish jobs and vast pay packages to sit on the boards of these newly privatised utilities Absolutely outrageous but all conveniently swept under the carpet The disgraceful massive and still growing disparity in pay rises over the past 20 years between the directors and employees of companies This sort of blatant unfairness will really cause problems for long term social cohesion in this country It creates an unhealthy unhappier society The insidious growth of the corporate private sector It s tentacles now reaching voraciously into every aspect of our public and private lives Witness the rise of the awful Private Finance Initiative in Britain whereby the taxpayer pays for schools hospitals and prisons in order to then hand them over to private corporations so they can then start charging rent to the taxpayer whilst making huge profits Bizarre Overpopulation of a small country like Britain But no one can mention this without being screamed down as a racist Political Correctness is now so corrosive it is almost a form of Thought Police The size of a country s population should be dependent upon it s ability to feed itself and maintain good public services The fact of the matter is that the UK is a small country and we should be looking at ways of reducing our population to a manageable size and not continually expanding it But when will we wake up to this fact When our population reaches 100 million Personal privacy The British population are now one of the most spied upon in the world The state along with the private sector are busily trying to establish systems that will keep a close check on virtually every aspect of an individual s life and habits This is not science fiction this is happening now Britain is sleepwalking into an Orwellian state Of course the government will always trot out the line If you ve got nothing to hide you ve got nothing to worry about but is this really the direction we want to see our country going 200 Did you grow up within a family that was politically concerned Matt Johnson Yes I was lucky in having parents who had no deeply held prejudice and who seem in retrospect to have been natural liberals Warm kind and generous Up to his mid twenties my Dad held no deeply held beliefs other than hating unfairness and like my Mum detesting racial prejudice When my Dad worked in the London Docks mainly the Royal Group he was a member of the Blue Union of NASDU National Association of Stevedores and Dockers The other union was known as the White Union but was the TGWU He was deeply influenced by some of the dockers many of whom were widely read and would quote poetry and Marx in the same conversation They were all self taught and of high intelligence When he was hospitalised for many months with TB after being stabbed during a fight he read Das Kapital War Peace Camus the War poets Jack Kerouac Henry Miller amongst others This period really influenced his thinking and ideas He became increasingly drawn to socialism and an alternative left wing view of the world and more involved in the Union He was even elected from the floor of a mass meeting to Jackie Dash s strike committee but eventually economic needs of a small and growing family meant he went into the pub trade and left the docks behind Recently his political feelings have been stirred again by various events He actively takes part in antiwar marches and now votes for the Ecology party 200 So your childhood and environment contributed to your political views and opinions in your work Matt Johnson Certainly everyone is influenced by the environment in which they grow up in whether they are aware of it or not I suppose if I m honest I do find myself trying to gently influence my own son but without wishing to undermine his own sense of himself and the world as he finds it 200 A lot of filmmakers musicians comedians journalists and writers are self censoring themselves and avoid certain political sensitive subjects In these times would you ever consider self censorship yourself Matt Johnson Well we re going through a very strange period in Britain at the moment The issues of freedom of expression and self censorship are really running through a lot of people s minds Certain minorities now react with such hysteria to anything they may perceive as even a minor insult that people are becoming afraid to say anything at all for fear of a violent reaction This is a very dangerous situation and ultimately will act as a recruiting agent for the likes of the BNP and other extremist groups If you want to come and live in a country like Britain then I think the least you can do is respect the traditions of free expression If you really don t like living in a country with free expression then you should probably choose to live elsewhere I honestly believe that the issues that divide the population are best expressed openly and smashed on the anvil of public debate Certainly not swept under the carpet or silenced by threats of violence 200 Would you release a single like Armageddon days are here again tomorrow Matt Johnson Well to be clear Armageddon Days was shelved at the last minute as a single because of threats received at both the offices of CBS my ex record company and against various radio stations that started to play it In fact CBS even had to remove the American flag from their rooftop such was the paranoia of the time It has never ever been played on commercial radio since Make of that what you will The censorship is there whether we want to admit it or not I have no idea what anyone who really listened to this song would find offensive about it as it s message was simple that we have forgotten the unifying message behind the world s major religions and instead now worship the differences To my ears eyes and heart the real essence of most faiths is similar it is just the language that s different You can say I Love You in 20 different languages but it still means I Love You 200 Would you still write songs about this subject matter Matt Johnson If I felt I had anything worth saying on the subject yes I would but I still feel the songs I wrote on the Mind Bomb album covered the area fairly well I really don t know what I would add at this moment in time to what I ve already said 200 Some of the songs you wrote became a reality like Heartland Did you foresee that this was going to happen Matt Johnson I m just a voracious consumer of news and current affairs and it seemed pretty obvious even back in the 1980 s that Britain was becoming unhealthily dominated by American culture generally and by American foreign policy specifically The unbalance in this relationship has continued upon this trajectory in the 20 years since I wrote Heartland We are now in a situation where most of the UK s foreign and defence policy is formulated and dictated from Washington and yet the people who scream the loudest that we are losing our sovereignty to the Europe Union don t even bat an eyelid about this Odd I have lived on and off in New York for many years and though there is much I genuinely love about America one thing I ve always consistently criticised is their foreign policy It has really done the American people no favours at all and has now led to them being the most reviled nation on Earth So in Blair s close relationship with Bush we seem to have a classic case of power without principles A Labour Prime Minister super gluing himself to the repugnant policies of an ultra right wing Neo Con US administration for some imagined influence Do you remember when Tony Blair met George Bush at his Texan ranch and we saw Blair awkwardly dressed up in the same casual military wear as the Commander In Chief Very embarrassing to watch When in the presence of high ranking Americans Tony Blair seems to go as weak at the knees as a schoolgirl meeting a boy band Winston Churchill must be spinning in his grave In return for our unstinting support of US foreign policy what does Britain really get out of this Special Relationship apart from the dubious privilege of spending taxpayers money on the latest American weaponry When British soldiers get killed by US friendly fire the Americans refuse to even show the courtesy of turning up at the inquests Whereas our soldiers would be required to show up if it was the other way round We also now have a completely unbalanced Extradition Treaty with them Under the new treaty the allegations of the US government will be enough to secure the extradition of British citizens from the UK Yet if the UK wants to extradite someone from the US evidence to the standard of a reasonable demonstration of guilt will still be required Why would we sign such a one sided treaty Are the people running Britain incompetent or plain corrupt So because of all this macho posturing by Tony Blair and his closest advisers Britain has ended up over stretching our ill equipped armed forces to breaking point Sending them to hell with radios that don t work guns that jam and tanks that stall Not only is this ill fated and illegal war costing hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi lives countless more injuries and putting British cities at increased risk of terrorist attack but it is also costing the British taxpayer billions of pounds too And this at a time when the government is preparing to shut down thousands of Post Offices across Britain in an attempt to save money Someone has to be held to account for this monumental incompetence Blair is not only the most right wing leader the Labour party has ever had he s also turning out to be one of the most right wing Prime Ministers this country s ever had Surrounded by a small cabal of shadowy un elected officials who wield more power over the country than the elected cabinet or parliament it seems that once the

    Original URL path: http://www.thethe.com/news/tag/200/ (2016-02-12)
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  • THE THETag Archive for "Bob Dylan" -
    to try to understand and back up what I m trying to say 200 Is there anything particular you want to achieve with your political songs Matt Johnson Just to get things off my chest I suppose To help temporarily ease a growing sense of political impotence Of course it would be wonderful to write a song that really captured the moment and expressed what was on a lot of peoples minds but most people are probably not as interested in the subjects and scenarios that fascinate and vex me It s really a hit and miss affair 200 Have you got the idea that songs with political lyrics can change the world Matt Johnson No I don t think that at all There may have been a moment in the 1960 s where people thought this may have been possible but I think that moment has long gone As I mentioned before popular music on the whole has now been absorbed into corporate culture homogenised and sold back to the public as just another safe sanitised form of entertainment Nevertheless I do think a great song can provide a certain focal point but any lasting change has to come about by mass movement as in the earlier example of Strange Fruit and the anti lynching and civil rights movements and not by a single individual s contribution Songs and music are just threads in the wider fabric of our culture not the fabric itself I don t believe in figureheads but I do believe in mass movements As soon as you have figureheads and personality cults you have the poison of ego megalomania and the struggle for power That s where the trouble starts 200 Which political issue in the world screams for a political song right now Matt Johnson My goodness there are lots of issues that young songwriters should be chomping at the bit to tackle Of course it all depends on perspective though as there are British issues on the one hand and more global concerns on the other But for a start The War on Terror and trying to understand how we got to where we now are Continued foreign intervention in the affairs of many of these Middle East countries has led to much of the rage we now feel directed towards the West We should really be trying to see things from the perspective of our so called enemies and what has radicalised them and not hiding behind simplistic war slogans and feeding the flames of mutual mistrust The brazen political hypocrisy of our leaders We continually hear the mantra of no negotiation with terrorists So they just arm and support them instead Remember the Contras And who sold Saddam Hussein his weapons But what about the negotiations with the ANC IRA and PLO Even George Washington was considered a terrorist by the British at one point Dialogue is the only way forward Just begin it before even more innocent lives are lost But you may have noticed that the Bush Administration always attaches impossible preconditions to the prospects of any talks with countries like Iran and Syria even though ultimately talks are the only way forward The problem for the West and the world actually is that we re saddled with a US president who is so far out of his depth in terms of worldliness vision statesmanship or even basic common sense Let s just pray the next one is better Climate change Well time is running out as fast as the snows on Kilimanjaro with this one What to do except batten down the hatches or head for the high ground The bastardisation of our political vocabulary This dreadful management marketing advertising jargon which has infected our language Political debate seems shrouded in euphemisms For example Enterprise Culture and Consumer Choice really mean deregulation of the rules for big business to make even bigger profits Flexible Labour Markets really means being able to shut factories down at a moment s notice and ship all the jobs off to countries with low cost non unionised workforces Free Trade really means poor countries forced to open up their markets while the rich ones keep their s closed Entrepreneurial Spirit really means self serving guilt free greed Not to mention all these ridiculous buzz words the politicians and corporations insist on using such as Brand and Content etc and we haven t even got onto the way we ve been sneakily turned from citizens into consumers and from passengers or patients into customers when using public transport or the NHS There are people that actually get paid a fortune for dreaming up this claptrap this relentless nonsensical drivel The vocabulary for political discourse now has to be reinvented somehow We need to redefine what words like democracy socialism and freedom really mean For instance take democracy On the one hand in America you can only run for President if you have several hundred million dollars worth of corporate funding in your pocket So how seriously compromised is anyone that runs for President It s absurd On the other hand The Palestinians voted in Hamas on a popular vote in fair elections yet it doesn t count because the Americans Israelis and British don t like it Are these really the sort of definitions of democratic values the West wishes to project across the globe That money counts for everything And that the range within which democracy must function is so narrow that only certain types of political discourse will ever be allowed The rampant greed of corporations the corruption of our political system by cash and the subsequent distorting of truth by the paid consultants and experts of wealthy lobby groups In Britain we seem to be selling off of everything for foreign ownership From state assets like water electricity gas airports ports defence contractors even the London stock exchange Premiership football clubs large swathes of our housing stock not to mention our food companies and farms Nothing is secure from being sold off in UK PLC But what amazes me is that it barely raises an eyebrow I don t know whether this vast sell off will be good or bad in the long term but surely it is worth discussing in some detail To try working out where this is all leading us Yet it gets barely a mention There is no analysis at all about what this actually means for the country in the long run All you ever hear are the business news commentators telling us in breathless tones what a great deal for the shareholders this deal or that is going to be No mention of the other costs involved in the short and long term to the country and it s population The fact that we no longer own much of our own energy water airports ports what does this all really mean Maybe it doesn t matter at all but wouldn t it be nice if someone were to start seriously asking the question This all started out in the 1980 s as supposedly selling the State s assets back to the British people But it was a vast con trick The British public already owned it all They were just being conned into being middle men between the government and big business Soon the government ministers responsible for the various privatisation deals were being offered lavish jobs and vast pay packages to sit on the boards of these newly privatised utilities Absolutely outrageous but all conveniently swept under the carpet The disgraceful massive and still growing disparity in pay rises over the past 20 years between the directors and employees of companies This sort of blatant unfairness will really cause problems for long term social cohesion in this country It creates an unhealthy unhappier society The insidious growth of the corporate private sector It s tentacles now reaching voraciously into every aspect of our public and private lives Witness the rise of the awful Private Finance Initiative in Britain whereby the taxpayer pays for schools hospitals and prisons in order to then hand them over to private corporations so they can then start charging rent to the taxpayer whilst making huge profits Bizarre Overpopulation of a small country like Britain But no one can mention this without being screamed down as a racist Political Correctness is now so corrosive it is almost a form of Thought Police The size of a country s population should be dependent upon it s ability to feed itself and maintain good public services The fact of the matter is that the UK is a small country and we should be looking at ways of reducing our population to a manageable size and not continually expanding it But when will we wake up to this fact When our population reaches 100 million Personal privacy The British population are now one of the most spied upon in the world The state along with the private sector are busily trying to establish systems that will keep a close check on virtually every aspect of an individual s life and habits This is not science fiction this is happening now Britain is sleepwalking into an Orwellian state Of course the government will always trot out the line If you ve got nothing to hide you ve got nothing to worry about but is this really the direction we want to see our country going 200 Did you grow up within a family that was politically concerned Matt Johnson Yes I was lucky in having parents who had no deeply held prejudice and who seem in retrospect to have been natural liberals Warm kind and generous Up to his mid twenties my Dad held no deeply held beliefs other than hating unfairness and like my Mum detesting racial prejudice When my Dad worked in the London Docks mainly the Royal Group he was a member of the Blue Union of NASDU National Association of Stevedores and Dockers The other union was known as the White Union but was the TGWU He was deeply influenced by some of the dockers many of whom were widely read and would quote poetry and Marx in the same conversation They were all self taught and of high intelligence When he was hospitalised for many months with TB after being stabbed during a fight he read Das Kapital War Peace Camus the War poets Jack Kerouac Henry Miller amongst others This period really influenced his thinking and ideas He became increasingly drawn to socialism and an alternative left wing view of the world and more involved in the Union He was even elected from the floor of a mass meeting to Jackie Dash s strike committee but eventually economic needs of a small and growing family meant he went into the pub trade and left the docks behind Recently his political feelings have been stirred again by various events He actively takes part in antiwar marches and now votes for the Ecology party 200 So your childhood and environment contributed to your political views and opinions in your work Matt Johnson Certainly everyone is influenced by the environment in which they grow up in whether they are aware of it or not I suppose if I m honest I do find myself trying to gently influence my own son but without wishing to undermine his own sense of himself and the world as he finds it 200 A lot of filmmakers musicians comedians journalists and writers are self censoring themselves and avoid certain political sensitive subjects In these times would you ever consider self censorship yourself Matt Johnson Well we re going through a very strange period in Britain at the moment The issues of freedom of expression and self censorship are really running through a lot of people s minds Certain minorities now react with such hysteria to anything they may perceive as even a minor insult that people are becoming afraid to say anything at all for fear of a violent reaction This is a very dangerous situation and ultimately will act as a recruiting agent for the likes of the BNP and other extremist groups If you want to come and live in a country like Britain then I think the least you can do is respect the traditions of free expression If you really don t like living in a country with free expression then you should probably choose to live elsewhere I honestly believe that the issues that divide the population are best expressed openly and smashed on the anvil of public debate Certainly not swept under the carpet or silenced by threats of violence 200 Would you release a single like Armageddon days are here again tomorrow Matt Johnson Well to be clear Armageddon Days was shelved at the last minute as a single because of threats received at both the offices of CBS my ex record company and against various radio stations that started to play it In fact CBS even had to remove the American flag from their rooftop such was the paranoia of the time It has never ever been played on commercial radio since Make of that what you will The censorship is there whether we want to admit it or not I have no idea what anyone who really listened to this song would find offensive about it as it s message was simple that we have forgotten the unifying message behind the world s major religions and instead now worship the differences To my ears eyes and heart the real essence of most faiths is similar it is just the language that s different You can say I Love You in 20 different languages but it still means I Love You 200 Would you still write songs about this subject matter Matt Johnson If I felt I had anything worth saying on the subject yes I would but I still feel the songs I wrote on the Mind Bomb album covered the area fairly well I really don t know what I would add at this moment in time to what I ve already said 200 Some of the songs you wrote became a reality like Heartland Did you foresee that this was going to happen Matt Johnson I m just a voracious consumer of news and current affairs and it seemed pretty obvious even back in the 1980 s that Britain was becoming unhealthily dominated by American culture generally and by American foreign policy specifically The unbalance in this relationship has continued upon this trajectory in the 20 years since I wrote Heartland We are now in a situation where most of the UK s foreign and defence policy is formulated and dictated from Washington and yet the people who scream the loudest that we are losing our sovereignty to the Europe Union don t even bat an eyelid about this Odd I have lived on and off in New York for many years and though there is much I genuinely love about America one thing I ve always consistently criticised is their foreign policy It has really done the American people no favours at all and has now led to them being the most reviled nation on Earth So in Blair s close relationship with Bush we seem to have a classic case of power without principles A Labour Prime Minister super gluing himself to the repugnant policies of an ultra right wing Neo Con US administration for some imagined influence Do you remember when Tony Blair met George Bush at his Texan ranch and we saw Blair awkwardly dressed up in the same casual military wear as the Commander In Chief Very embarrassing to watch When in the presence of high ranking Americans Tony Blair seems to go as weak at the knees as a schoolgirl meeting a boy band Winston Churchill must be spinning in his grave In return for our unstinting support of US foreign policy what does Britain really get out of this Special Relationship apart from the dubious privilege of spending taxpayers money on the latest American weaponry When British soldiers get killed by US friendly fire the Americans refuse to even show the courtesy of turning up at the inquests Whereas our soldiers would be required to show up if it was the other way round We also now have a completely unbalanced Extradition Treaty with them Under the new treaty the allegations of the US government will be enough to secure the extradition of British citizens from the UK Yet if the UK wants to extradite someone from the US evidence to the standard of a reasonable demonstration of guilt will still be required Why would we sign such a one sided treaty Are the people running Britain incompetent or plain corrupt So because of all this macho posturing by Tony Blair and his closest advisers Britain has ended up over stretching our ill equipped armed forces to breaking point Sending them to hell with radios that don t work guns that jam and tanks that stall Not only is this ill fated and illegal war costing hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi lives countless more injuries and putting British cities at increased risk of terrorist attack but it is also costing the British taxpayer billions of pounds too And this at a time when the government is preparing to shut down thousands of Post Offices across Britain in an attempt to save money Someone has to be held to account for this monumental incompetence Blair is not only the most right wing leader the Labour party has ever had he s also turning out to be one of the most right wing Prime Ministers this country s ever had Surrounded by a small cabal of shadowy un elected officials who wield more power over the country than the elected cabinet or parliament it seems that once the

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  • THE THETag Archive for "James Brown" -
    to try to understand and back up what I m trying to say 200 Is there anything particular you want to achieve with your political songs Matt Johnson Just to get things off my chest I suppose To help temporarily ease a growing sense of political impotence Of course it would be wonderful to write a song that really captured the moment and expressed what was on a lot of peoples minds but most people are probably not as interested in the subjects and scenarios that fascinate and vex me It s really a hit and miss affair 200 Have you got the idea that songs with political lyrics can change the world Matt Johnson No I don t think that at all There may have been a moment in the 1960 s where people thought this may have been possible but I think that moment has long gone As I mentioned before popular music on the whole has now been absorbed into corporate culture homogenised and sold back to the public as just another safe sanitised form of entertainment Nevertheless I do think a great song can provide a certain focal point but any lasting change has to come about by mass movement as in the earlier example of Strange Fruit and the anti lynching and civil rights movements and not by a single individual s contribution Songs and music are just threads in the wider fabric of our culture not the fabric itself I don t believe in figureheads but I do believe in mass movements As soon as you have figureheads and personality cults you have the poison of ego megalomania and the struggle for power That s where the trouble starts 200 Which political issue in the world screams for a political song right now Matt Johnson My goodness there are lots of issues that young songwriters should be chomping at the bit to tackle Of course it all depends on perspective though as there are British issues on the one hand and more global concerns on the other But for a start The War on Terror and trying to understand how we got to where we now are Continued foreign intervention in the affairs of many of these Middle East countries has led to much of the rage we now feel directed towards the West We should really be trying to see things from the perspective of our so called enemies and what has radicalised them and not hiding behind simplistic war slogans and feeding the flames of mutual mistrust The brazen political hypocrisy of our leaders We continually hear the mantra of no negotiation with terrorists So they just arm and support them instead Remember the Contras And who sold Saddam Hussein his weapons But what about the negotiations with the ANC IRA and PLO Even George Washington was considered a terrorist by the British at one point Dialogue is the only way forward Just begin it before even more innocent lives are lost But you may have noticed that the Bush Administration always attaches impossible preconditions to the prospects of any talks with countries like Iran and Syria even though ultimately talks are the only way forward The problem for the West and the world actually is that we re saddled with a US president who is so far out of his depth in terms of worldliness vision statesmanship or even basic common sense Let s just pray the next one is better Climate change Well time is running out as fast as the snows on Kilimanjaro with this one What to do except batten down the hatches or head for the high ground The bastardisation of our political vocabulary This dreadful management marketing advertising jargon which has infected our language Political debate seems shrouded in euphemisms For example Enterprise Culture and Consumer Choice really mean deregulation of the rules for big business to make even bigger profits Flexible Labour Markets really means being able to shut factories down at a moment s notice and ship all the jobs off to countries with low cost non unionised workforces Free Trade really means poor countries forced to open up their markets while the rich ones keep their s closed Entrepreneurial Spirit really means self serving guilt free greed Not to mention all these ridiculous buzz words the politicians and corporations insist on using such as Brand and Content etc and we haven t even got onto the way we ve been sneakily turned from citizens into consumers and from passengers or patients into customers when using public transport or the NHS There are people that actually get paid a fortune for dreaming up this claptrap this relentless nonsensical drivel The vocabulary for political discourse now has to be reinvented somehow We need to redefine what words like democracy socialism and freedom really mean For instance take democracy On the one hand in America you can only run for President if you have several hundred million dollars worth of corporate funding in your pocket So how seriously compromised is anyone that runs for President It s absurd On the other hand The Palestinians voted in Hamas on a popular vote in fair elections yet it doesn t count because the Americans Israelis and British don t like it Are these really the sort of definitions of democratic values the West wishes to project across the globe That money counts for everything And that the range within which democracy must function is so narrow that only certain types of political discourse will ever be allowed The rampant greed of corporations the corruption of our political system by cash and the subsequent distorting of truth by the paid consultants and experts of wealthy lobby groups In Britain we seem to be selling off of everything for foreign ownership From state assets like water electricity gas airports ports defence contractors even the London stock exchange Premiership football clubs large swathes of our housing stock not to mention our food companies and farms Nothing is secure from being sold off in UK PLC But what amazes me is that it barely raises an eyebrow I don t know whether this vast sell off will be good or bad in the long term but surely it is worth discussing in some detail To try working out where this is all leading us Yet it gets barely a mention There is no analysis at all about what this actually means for the country in the long run All you ever hear are the business news commentators telling us in breathless tones what a great deal for the shareholders this deal or that is going to be No mention of the other costs involved in the short and long term to the country and it s population The fact that we no longer own much of our own energy water airports ports what does this all really mean Maybe it doesn t matter at all but wouldn t it be nice if someone were to start seriously asking the question This all started out in the 1980 s as supposedly selling the State s assets back to the British people But it was a vast con trick The British public already owned it all They were just being conned into being middle men between the government and big business Soon the government ministers responsible for the various privatisation deals were being offered lavish jobs and vast pay packages to sit on the boards of these newly privatised utilities Absolutely outrageous but all conveniently swept under the carpet The disgraceful massive and still growing disparity in pay rises over the past 20 years between the directors and employees of companies This sort of blatant unfairness will really cause problems for long term social cohesion in this country It creates an unhealthy unhappier society The insidious growth of the corporate private sector It s tentacles now reaching voraciously into every aspect of our public and private lives Witness the rise of the awful Private Finance Initiative in Britain whereby the taxpayer pays for schools hospitals and prisons in order to then hand them over to private corporations so they can then start charging rent to the taxpayer whilst making huge profits Bizarre Overpopulation of a small country like Britain But no one can mention this without being screamed down as a racist Political Correctness is now so corrosive it is almost a form of Thought Police The size of a country s population should be dependent upon it s ability to feed itself and maintain good public services The fact of the matter is that the UK is a small country and we should be looking at ways of reducing our population to a manageable size and not continually expanding it But when will we wake up to this fact When our population reaches 100 million Personal privacy The British population are now one of the most spied upon in the world The state along with the private sector are busily trying to establish systems that will keep a close check on virtually every aspect of an individual s life and habits This is not science fiction this is happening now Britain is sleepwalking into an Orwellian state Of course the government will always trot out the line If you ve got nothing to hide you ve got nothing to worry about but is this really the direction we want to see our country going 200 Did you grow up within a family that was politically concerned Matt Johnson Yes I was lucky in having parents who had no deeply held prejudice and who seem in retrospect to have been natural liberals Warm kind and generous Up to his mid twenties my Dad held no deeply held beliefs other than hating unfairness and like my Mum detesting racial prejudice When my Dad worked in the London Docks mainly the Royal Group he was a member of the Blue Union of NASDU National Association of Stevedores and Dockers The other union was known as the White Union but was the TGWU He was deeply influenced by some of the dockers many of whom were widely read and would quote poetry and Marx in the same conversation They were all self taught and of high intelligence When he was hospitalised for many months with TB after being stabbed during a fight he read Das Kapital War Peace Camus the War poets Jack Kerouac Henry Miller amongst others This period really influenced his thinking and ideas He became increasingly drawn to socialism and an alternative left wing view of the world and more involved in the Union He was even elected from the floor of a mass meeting to Jackie Dash s strike committee but eventually economic needs of a small and growing family meant he went into the pub trade and left the docks behind Recently his political feelings have been stirred again by various events He actively takes part in antiwar marches and now votes for the Ecology party 200 So your childhood and environment contributed to your political views and opinions in your work Matt Johnson Certainly everyone is influenced by the environment in which they grow up in whether they are aware of it or not I suppose if I m honest I do find myself trying to gently influence my own son but without wishing to undermine his own sense of himself and the world as he finds it 200 A lot of filmmakers musicians comedians journalists and writers are self censoring themselves and avoid certain political sensitive subjects In these times would you ever consider self censorship yourself Matt Johnson Well we re going through a very strange period in Britain at the moment The issues of freedom of expression and self censorship are really running through a lot of people s minds Certain minorities now react with such hysteria to anything they may perceive as even a minor insult that people are becoming afraid to say anything at all for fear of a violent reaction This is a very dangerous situation and ultimately will act as a recruiting agent for the likes of the BNP and other extremist groups If you want to come and live in a country like Britain then I think the least you can do is respect the traditions of free expression If you really don t like living in a country with free expression then you should probably choose to live elsewhere I honestly believe that the issues that divide the population are best expressed openly and smashed on the anvil of public debate Certainly not swept under the carpet or silenced by threats of violence 200 Would you release a single like Armageddon days are here again tomorrow Matt Johnson Well to be clear Armageddon Days was shelved at the last minute as a single because of threats received at both the offices of CBS my ex record company and against various radio stations that started to play it In fact CBS even had to remove the American flag from their rooftop such was the paranoia of the time It has never ever been played on commercial radio since Make of that what you will The censorship is there whether we want to admit it or not I have no idea what anyone who really listened to this song would find offensive about it as it s message was simple that we have forgotten the unifying message behind the world s major religions and instead now worship the differences To my ears eyes and heart the real essence of most faiths is similar it is just the language that s different You can say I Love You in 20 different languages but it still means I Love You 200 Would you still write songs about this subject matter Matt Johnson If I felt I had anything worth saying on the subject yes I would but I still feel the songs I wrote on the Mind Bomb album covered the area fairly well I really don t know what I would add at this moment in time to what I ve already said 200 Some of the songs you wrote became a reality like Heartland Did you foresee that this was going to happen Matt Johnson I m just a voracious consumer of news and current affairs and it seemed pretty obvious even back in the 1980 s that Britain was becoming unhealthily dominated by American culture generally and by American foreign policy specifically The unbalance in this relationship has continued upon this trajectory in the 20 years since I wrote Heartland We are now in a situation where most of the UK s foreign and defence policy is formulated and dictated from Washington and yet the people who scream the loudest that we are losing our sovereignty to the Europe Union don t even bat an eyelid about this Odd I have lived on and off in New York for many years and though there is much I genuinely love about America one thing I ve always consistently criticised is their foreign policy It has really done the American people no favours at all and has now led to them being the most reviled nation on Earth So in Blair s close relationship with Bush we seem to have a classic case of power without principles A Labour Prime Minister super gluing himself to the repugnant policies of an ultra right wing Neo Con US administration for some imagined influence Do you remember when Tony Blair met George Bush at his Texan ranch and we saw Blair awkwardly dressed up in the same casual military wear as the Commander In Chief Very embarrassing to watch When in the presence of high ranking Americans Tony Blair seems to go as weak at the knees as a schoolgirl meeting a boy band Winston Churchill must be spinning in his grave In return for our unstinting support of US foreign policy what does Britain really get out of this Special Relationship apart from the dubious privilege of spending taxpayers money on the latest American weaponry When British soldiers get killed by US friendly fire the Americans refuse to even show the courtesy of turning up at the inquests Whereas our soldiers would be required to show up if it was the other way round We also now have a completely unbalanced Extradition Treaty with them Under the new treaty the allegations of the US government will be enough to secure the extradition of British citizens from the UK Yet if the UK wants to extradite someone from the US evidence to the standard of a reasonable demonstration of guilt will still be required Why would we sign such a one sided treaty Are the people running Britain incompetent or plain corrupt So because of all this macho posturing by Tony Blair and his closest advisers Britain has ended up over stretching our ill equipped armed forces to breaking point Sending them to hell with radios that don t work guns that jam and tanks that stall Not only is this ill fated and illegal war costing hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi lives countless more injuries and putting British cities at increased risk of terrorist attack but it is also costing the British taxpayer billions of pounds too And this at a time when the government is preparing to shut down thousands of Post Offices across Britain in an attempt to save money Someone has to be held to account for this monumental incompetence Blair is not only the most right wing leader the Labour party has ever had he s also turning out to be one of the most right wing Prime Ministers this country s ever had Surrounded by a small cabal of shadowy un elected officials who wield more power over the country than the elected cabinet or parliament it seems that once the

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