Joining The Circus: What to do for British Politics?

10 Minute Read
Written by Alasdair King

Paint my face with a good-for-nothin’ smile…

It’s hard not to feel helpless. The dissonance within British politics is startling.

However, should we really be as surprised as we are by the lack of moral compass and absence of defined leadership given the contextual unravelling of the past twenty odd years? We sit perched upon a dangerous precipice into which we might fall any day now. It seems to be only a matter of time before we plunge headfirst into the abyss – a frightening new era in which a steadfast belief in falsehoods will bring forth a new circus. We all know who the ringleaders are…


The turn of the year has brought with it new revelations in the wake of what has been a tumultuous and chaotic period. It’s hard to recall a moment as pivotal and confused in world politics – with the economy in tatters in the wake of the pandemic, Brexit blues and the very real prospect of war looming across greater Europe, who would want to lead?

It is perhaps for this very reason that we have found ourselves in the mess we are in, a moment in which the Tory party remains in power through some strange state of default. The blame is passed carelessly between MPs, political advisors and the Prime Minister without any real accountability. All the while Labour fight amongst themselves over how left is right and whether Keir Starmer is in fact too ‘wet’ to be PM. Our voices are quieter than ever…

It’s us who suffer in the midst of it all as the cost of living soars and a polarised society grows ever more divided.

Then there’s the media – an unregulated beast which has played a role in the stupefaction of politics.

Even this week we were ‘entertained’ by a loaded story likely teased by the Tories themselves to distract from the outrageous rule breaking of Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak. Scandalous and in this case sexist, misogynistic drivel directed towards Angela Rayner has once again distracted us all from the bigger picture.

“Quickly, lift up the rug a second and we’ll all sneak in…”


Gideon Berger, of Block9 and R3 Soundsystem, reflects on the rampant role of the media in the devaluation of UK politics.

“Populist politics require leaders that are caricatures of themselves with exaggerated accessibility for people to easily relate to. This is a symptom of allowing the global media to be monopolised by the lies of Murdoch and his evil empire. They control the agenda and sculpt the appetite for the disgusting leaders we now have like Trump and Boris. This paves the way for catastrophically bad decision making to be engineered for a far right vision of the world. Welcome to Brexit.

I think the legacy of Reagan and Thatcher was to popularise and enable capitalism – making unsustainable greed a revered quality to be attained by all. When capitalism fails to deliver the lifestyle we see on TV, there needs to be someone to blame. The mastery of vile s**tstirring haters like Nigel Farage is that they have successfully managed to blame the “otherness” of immigrants, for the inequality of the class system, as opposed to the real culprits, the Etonian boys club consolidating all the wealth in this country. Again…you end up with Brexit. Those who voted for it were fooled.

Unfortunately the Labour leadership is really weak at the moment, so there is no counterpart leader to challenge Boris’ supersaturated cartoon personality. A sorry state of affairs.”

This is a view broadened upon by musician, composer and founder of The Big Brexit Band, Matthew Herbert who when asked about the sensationalist, media driven politics of the 21st century goes further.

“It’s simply a different manifestation of the long-standing institutionally racist, white patriarchal and inherently violent system that has long been the basis of the British state.

The media is the evolution of this new manifestation. The Telegraph is pure propaganda for example. Even the BBC, who I will always defend, always defer to the status quo which in turn drags everything rightwards.”

The BBC’s role amidst the political landscape was once upon a time a solidifying and somewhat dependable hook upon which you could hang your hat. However, even they have been forced to remodel and adapt to a somewhat precarious climate in which fact is deemed fiction and vice versa.

Gideon believes this has led to the deterioration of proper political practice.

“In this country the BBC always felt like the reliable big sister, a bastion of British reliability, the rock that was accountable, reasonably fair and reliable.

Now that the Tories have a gun permanently pointed at the head of the BBC, it has become untethered from its moral and ethical duty and is the battleground of the culture wars. It basically has to dance to the tune of the right wing or face destruction…

Sometimes BBC News feels more like the News Of The World or Fox News. In the shadow of this, the poisonous hatred pedalled by The Sun and The Daily Mail and The Metro prevails.

Those media institutions are just an extension of the Tory party. A propaganda machine run by the same people profiting from Tory cronyism. It’s really f**ked. We need to flip the table on it all.”

Matthew Herbert correlates this view, concurring that the aggression and subjectivity of the BBC is just one element under threat as a result of government policy.

“The outspoken attacks on the BBC, the NHS, the judiciary, the National Trust, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the arts, universities, the RNLI and so on makes you realise how little the tories actually like this country.”

At this point it’s hard to be optimistic about the future of politics in the UK. Gideon reflects satirically on our own lacklustre approach to getting f**ked over by the Tory party.

“Boris Johnson is a ruthless, power hungry, right wing capitalist pig, dressed up as a loveable Etonian patriotic buffoon. You can judge a man by those around him. Look at them. True blue, old school racist corruption, right from those satirical political cartoons you see in pub toilets from 100 years ago. The swindle of capitalism continues unchecked, but this time the ‘worker’ is never gonna rise up and rebel because they are too busy ordering Aesop hand soap from Amazon Prime. The perfect scam.”

However, perhaps the outlook isn’t quite so bleak as we make out. In what has become an increasingly polarised society Matthew Herbert lines us up on one of two sides emphasising that we are in a war in which “malignant insanity” is fighting “kindness and collaboration”.

By embodying such an ethos we might begin to move beyond the bleak black and white portrayal we ourselves have fallen accustomed to believing.

After all, here we are, a music magazine writing about politics without a media bias. Maybe it’s time that you had something to say about it all too…?