Happy Mondays

Does Bez actually have a good chance of wining the Salford byelection?At first it was treated like a joke.

A maverick candidate in a seat bored of politics.

There he was the dancing bear from the Happy Mondays, famous for being the most gonzoid one in the most gonzoid band and the skeletal icon for the pills, thrills and bellyaches generation announcing he was going to run for MP in the forever Labour seat of Salford.

The usual jokes were trotted out about drugs and being off his head but this was no joke, no publicity stunt, Bez is serious about the clutch of issues he is running on and in a city fed up with the political establishment he stands a very good chance of winning. His cries of freedom and the environment and his anti fracking ticket have hit home in Salford -a city where mainstream politics feels like a long way away and being a maverick dancing bearfrom a band that represented the chemical genration is a real plus and not a shady past to be hidden by PR and spin.

There is more than a groundswell of support for him in Salford – a city that feels insulted by fracking, giving a maverick candidate a great chance of winning the seat. Words like ‘man of the people’ have been bounding around and the rumble of resentment in the city could open the door for him unless Labour can get a very good candidate to try and hold onto  the seat.

The problem may well be not winning the seat but what to do if he gets to Parliament and gets to sit in the chamber- it will titlate the media watching him bounce around the corridors of power but the reality could set in quick as being an MP is a 24/7 full time job with its own pressures. Pressures that the day to day hard working MPs whose job has been tainted by the scandels of others have to deal with all the time. There are a clutch of genuine, impassioned hard working MPs in Parliament but we don’t get to hear their voices enough and the shiny party machines weighed down with market research have left places like Salford wide open for the likes of Bez to chance his hand.

So far Bez has handled himslef well but there will be some serious grilling down the line if it looks like he may well win the seat- heavy questions about suitability that will probably not leave a dent as Bez could well be one of the rare political candidates whose private life is already in the public eye and the skeletons have been freaky dancing out of the closet for years.

If he won would it mean a serious dent in party politics? will the future be about issues and not party line? will there be more independents ready to take the challenge? is the political process begiining to change? is it best to trust our future in mavericks or tried and tested political parties?


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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


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