Saturday, 26 December 2015

bye bye 2015

Another year is almost over. This has not been a very joyous year for the people struggling to scrape by whether they are the homeless citizens of the UK or refugees whose countries have been devastated by war. There seems to be no end in sight to these huge issues. It is difficult to look back on 2015 as a good year when so many people are in such trouble. 

As I watch news footage of the floods in the north I am reminded that it has taken governments years to accept the reality of Global warming and still they drag their feet.  

On a positive note I saw a news clip of a young, newly married couple who were just about to sign contracts for a new home on the day their new house was flooded. A lucky escape and at least they did not have to start off in a home, in an area that might now flood on a regular basis. 

Still, in the midst of the chaos there has been some positive  achievement in some areas  of UK life. We have seen the advancement of political expression that must be of benefit to us all.  The digital referendum has had a good year and 38 Degrees and others, have demonstrated that with enough participation governments will listen and will make u turns. Looking back at some early victories such as stopping the sale of UK forests and looking at the current collection of battles won, it seems the electronic petition has come along way. 

I think it is still early days to assess the real impact of Jeremy Corbyn's election as Labour leader.  I really hope that the issues and perspective he will bring to the debate will enhance the possibility for a fairer society and a more ethical governance. 

It is tradition that at this time of year we wish each other peace and goodwill.  It is a good all year round policy and while the struggle to overcome Daesh continues, we must not let frustration and confusion lead to the victimisation of the UK Muslims who stand with us against the tyranny of Daesh.  We must try to embrace difference and not be afraid of change and we should all participate in the debates that will influence the future in any way we can. These are the days when if we look away for just a moment we will lose hard won, precious rights that will not be easily returned to us. If we take our eye off the ball, political and ethical values and standards will surely drop.

So to art and music. I have had a good year and played some happy gigs to some lovely audiences and on all my travels I have met many good people doing all they can to make a positive difference in the affairs of their communities. I want to thank all of the people who have supported me and who have been a constant source of strength and encouragement. The list is longer than I would have ever thought. Thank you. You know who you are.

There are UK public gigs booked for 2016 with more in the pipeline plus a few Fair Days Pay For A Fair Days Work gigs booked. One of these is in Sweden so I shall look forward to that and meeting new folk. 2016 is also a recording year when I will be going in the studio for the first time in many years. I have the material written and I have pre production material ready to be used in the studio. I am very excited about this as I am about bringing some electric guitar back in the show. I am currently experimenting with this to see what can work. It is early days and a lot of fun right now but I know it will get to be harder as the work begins to become about repetitive rehearsal.

I expect to do even more fishing in 2016 than previously and I hope some of that will be in Norway when I return in the summer with Luke. I expect Luke and I will be doing a few gigs together next year. Meanwhile he has added a new song titled BATTERSEA to his Soundcloud page at

A while ago now I went to Austria to meet Walter Kohl and to play for his brother at his birthday party. Walter is a writer and I first met him in Wigan at the home of my friends Val and John when he came over to speak with me about his ideas for a novel. We spent some time getting to know each and discussed what Walter described as faction about the EBB. We also discussed my involvement in a gallery installation based on an idea I had called The definitive interview which has become an ongoing project.  Some time later I met with Walter and his family in Austria where I played for his brother. Walter and I spent hours and hours recording  material for his book and some time later we had a couple of days in London doing the same while Walter's colleague, Oktavia shot some video as reference for her installation ideas. It was an exhausting and intense work period but very interesting for me.

Time passed and recently an email arrived from Walter with an attachment of his English translation of his novel Out Demons Out. I was stunned. His translation from German to English is flawed but mightily impressive enough to give a good idea of the story. I have begun to read it and early on I was torn between correcting a small historic detail and leaving the artist to do what he wants with the truth. I do it all the time in my songs and writing. There are corrections to be made, as in any first transcript, but I won't interfere with Walter's licence to tell his story the way he intends. He has no chronological pathway to his story and I found that exciting. This is not a biography but a novel. I quickly got used to reading this very intriguing take on the EBB, Walter and his friends and events and people of the time. Initially this will be a German language novel and Walter also wants to get it published in English. I am fascinated and quite excited as I am working my way through Walter's translation. More on this later.

So it is time to wish you all the very best 2016. I hope to meet some of you as the year rolls on.

Finally, The Edgar Broughton Band will re release Super Chip - The Final Silicon Solution. It will be available as a down load on all major download distribution site in January 2016. The album had the track The Virus added for the 2010 release and there will be a new track added for this 2016 release.


Tuesday, 1 December 2015

impossible dream

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 exploded after being hit by a Russian-made Buk missile over eastern Ukraine. Russian president Putin denied all responsibility. It was said at the time that break away Ukraine militia did not have the expertise to use the Buk system. So who did?

Daesh ( formerly IS) recently claimed responsibility for the bombing of Metro Russian airliner downed in Egypt. Putin began bombing Daesh positions in Syria as well as rebels against Assad who had been bombed by Russian aircraft for some time. Putin offered 30 million for reward leading to apprehension of Metro bombers. As we all know Daesh claimed responsibility for the bombing in Paris. Allende declared war and here we are poised for another major conflict.

It is likely that current bombing by France in Syria, is killing more innocents than those killed in Paris. It is also likely that reprisal will come to all who join the growing alliance against Daesh. It is also clear that Daesh cannot be allowed to continue to expand it's operations. Meanwhile, any one not fighting under the bombs in Syria will probably be heading for a boat. I know I would be.

We are currently courting Turkey to get with the programme to prevent more refugees entering. They might tow the line more if they believe it might be the key to joining the European community. Again this is a country with an appalling human rights record but if it suits us we'll play along.

It is possible that if the numbers of refugees continues to escalate then borders will be closed and the 1985 Schengen treaty that opened the borders will be no more. In the near future the scale and the cost of accepting refugees into Europe could well bring about major sea change in attitudes to the problem. As we seem to move to a more dystopian future it might well be seen as expedient and profitable to form a new world order police force. The UN with teeth, that would include Russia and the NATO and non NATO nations. The objective would be regime change in all of the counties that refugees are leaving. The prize would be new free markets and a centralised control of major resources such as oil and water.

Cameron says he has the legal mandate to bomb Syria but many polls suggest the majority of the British don't support the proposed bombing. Corbyn is not alone in his belief that bombing is not the priority. Many military experts say the extra RAF missions will have little effect. The bombing of London during the second world war has been cited as an example where bombing did not break the people of the UK but actually hardened their resolve to overcome the enemy.

After the bombings what comes next and what happens after that? How will things be managed after Deash? 

Are we going to fly missions in Syria in a sort of loose alliance where if for example a UK aircraft is accidentally shot down by a Russian aircraft or ground fire, will we will call it friendly fire and accept the loss as more collateral damage. We are hardly friends are we? 
The US say there must be communication with the Russians to prevent this. They shoot up their own in less crowded battle scenes and with Russian, French, British and US aircraft on missions the possible random effects are terrifying. 

We should ask why Cameron did not want to bomb Syria to support the anti Assad rebels but now he says he must. It looks like he will do so with a haste that will omit vital chunks of strategy from the plan, according to some serving, senior military officers.

We must find a way to cut off income to Deash and to sanction those who buy Daesh oil. We must stop trading arms that have proven to have been used against the UK military when dodgy regimes turn against us. We know that countless times these regimes use the weapons we sold to to them to oppress their own people or to expand their own territory. There are many examples of this. Tensions between Iran and the US have eased a little recently but there have been times where relations were more than tense. If the US had ever decided to fly missions against Iran, to support Israel for example, they would have been up against Iranian F-14 fighter aircraft they had sold to Iran.

We must stop trading with Saudi no matter what the financial loss might be. How can we take the moral high ground against Deash when we are allied with a country whose justice system regularly carries out Deash style executions, stonings and beatings.

We must stand side by side with Muslims, here in the UK, who are equally opposed to Deash. There must be no mindless back lash or scapegoating.

These past days we have seen a large part of the Labour party and others struggling with a new way of prioritising the elements of major national policy. Change is uncomfortable and challenging. Change is needed and we all have to contribute and participate if we care. We know what is right and proper and we cannot continue to claim the higher moral ground on the world stage if we continue as we are. We need to clean up our act and make way for a fairer more just and reasoned way of governing ourselves and relating to the rest of the world. 

Like most people I would like to see Deash and all they stand for defeated and eliminated but a UK knee jerk reaction to the atrocities in France is not the answer.

I don't want to live in a country that bombs civilians and trades with dictators. I don't want to live in a country that has food banks and a growing number of homeless citizens while the average price of a home in London is £350,000. I want to see our priorities changed. I want to see a real move to fostering parity and opportunity for every one of us, with out prejudice or discrimination. I want to be proud of what this country stands for. It is time for change now and while Jeremy Corbyn might not be the solution, he at least wants to have the debate around fundamental issues that have been neglected for decades. I am hopeful for the first time in a long time. I don't believe the changes we need to make are an impossible dream.