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Why politics needs to embrace angry, sweary men like Sleaford Mods’ Jason Williamson

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Phil Hilton
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Following news that Sleaford Mods singer Jason Williamson has had his Labourship membership suspended after his derogatory tweet about an MP, Phil Hilton argues that politicians needs to embrace, not reject, angry young men

Often British politicians, when they’re on the telly, talk like your uncle with the five-year old Jag and interest in porcelain collectables. They express their views through the medium of pompous. 

As a nation, our contribution to rhetoric and debate is the knowing chuckle, a “with-all- due-respect” barrister-style. It’s like everyone has come to Newsnight straight from giving an assembly at a selective school in Guildford.

However, on the whole, the people waiting in the corridors of A and E for treatment aren’t doing the knowing chuckle, the people unable to buy a house, EVER, aren’t making memorised sarky remarks. While they carry on talking about really horrible, serious stuff with an ironic emotional distance, politicians will find it hard to get on with the rest of us.

I hate people calling other people c*nts on social media, (please step away from that keyboard, readers), I would never even consider sending someone abuse like that. And I disagree with loads of Tweets Williamson posts BUT there’s something authentic in that anger. 

Williamson is the Dame Kiri Te Kanawa of sweary rage.  When he fires his fury jets at a topic, the flames, sparks and general thrilling spectacle is unmatched. I’ve paid to see him shout furiously on a number of occasions and every time come away energised and laughing – his mind works like no one else’s in music right now. Importantly his passion reflects the way real people feel about things.

Sleaford Mods presented a problem to anyone writing about music in that the usual format is to compare new bands to old bands…”They’re like The Cure with a hint of Bon Jovi joined by two of The Prodigy”…but you just can’t with Sleaford Mods. To watch them perform is to see Alan Bennett’s drunk, cross brother and someone who’s very recently been given some music tech. And even as I write that I think, I’ve missed it. It’s a world of pubs and bus stops and corner shops, populated by people no one really cares about or wants to deal with – and they make it all funny and sad at the same time. They make me laugh…with urban decay and unemployment. They’re a bit old, they don’t have nice trousers, their stage theatrics stretch to the mic-stand wobbling a bit when Jason gets really angry.

So we need them, we need them as a break from gently melancholic indie boys with cool hair, a break from rappers who are disappointed with their entourage for not being true friends, a break from people with symmetrical faces and access to a good stylist. We need them because they’re angry and sweary.

Which brings me back to the Labour Party (*breathes, sits down quietly*). For politics to exclude the angry and sweary is to exclude a hell of a lot of people, people we need to vote for sane policies.

And I say that with all due respect…

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Phil Hilton

Phil Hilton is the editorial director of ShortList. In his own words he'd describe himself as a writer, a dad and a big-nosed, bald man. Follow Phil on Twitter: @Phil_Hilton

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