It’s all relevant. It’s always been relevant. For Billy Bragg and the UK.
In the 1980s and ‘90s, Bragg sang about fashioning a new England (when he wasn’t looking for another girl) from the one being dressed up for the kill by the Thatcher government – one that didn’t involve crushing those below and booting out johnny foreigner so you could rise to the top. In 2006, his second book, The Progressive Patriot, argued that his was a country built on migrants and idealism, not the white supremacy of its empire builders, and understanding that past was vital.
By 2017, when he came into the studios of The Right Note, all this was still a matter for debate, or persuasion as Brexit loomed on the horizon, anti-European and anti-refugee attitudes spread through media, politics and the people, and Bragg backed a Labour leader not fitting any previous mould.
In 2019, the UK stumbles towards a crash of one sort or another over these same issues, so there seems no better time to drop back in on that chat talk history, family and hope.