Music review: No to TTIP

Timely anti-EU tribute to Bob Crow and Tony Benn

Dave Murray

Left-wing Brexit campaign Trade Unionists Against the EU has released a 12-song compilation album, ‘No to TTIP’.

It seems that Nigel Farage and the right-wing ‘Leave.EU’ Brexit campaign have organised a pop concert. They are having trouble getting artists to commit to playing at it.

Garage act DJ Luck and MC Neat pulled out because they didn’t want to become the world’s first Farage act. Singer and TV presenter Alesha Dixon pulled out when it was explained to her that Farage wasn’t a genre of home-grown dance music, but a right-wing populist politician. “I’m just an entertainer,” they both protested.

Bucks Fizz

In the event on 19 June in Birmingham, Farage will be sharing a stage with Thatcher-era popsters Bucks Fizz and a Hitler impersonator. Sorry, I mean Elvis.

By contrast, No to TTIP is a timely tribute to anti-EU socialists Bob Crow and Tony Benn. Timely because with all the rubbish being talked by Leave and Remain politicians alike, their clear-sighted opposition to the bosses’ EU is what the officially sanctioned ‘debate’ is missing.

Trade Unionists Against the EU hasn’t had quite the same problem with artists – perhaps because they aren’t fishing in the same part of the talent pool as the Kippers.

It’s possible that just as all music is folk music (Louis Armstrong: “You ain’t never heard no horse sing a song”), then all music is political – even Bucks Fizz. The difference here is that the No to TTIP artists are consciously so – even when the music is purely instrumental, as is the contribution from fiddle legend Dave Swarbrick*.

The album is pretty biased in the direction of folk music, but if that is your thing then you will get tunes from big hitters like Swarbrick and Radio 2 Folk Award-winning Fran Morter. You may also discover gems from local heroes and lesser-known acts like Phil Burdett, Adam Rees, Mickey Denny and Brian Denny.

Benn himself makes an appearance in a recording of his collaboration with singer-guitarist Roy Bailey. As Bailey sings in ‘Song of the Exile’: “They tear down our comrades like leaves from a tree, but the tree still stands.”

  • Tragically, Dave Swarbrick of Fairport Convention died on 3 June, aged 75.

‘No to TTIP’ (CD): £12 including postage – visit to buy your copy – all proceeds go to Trade Unionists Against the EU