Plan B – track of the year so far?


So…pop songs stopped being political a long time ago, apparently.

…really? ‘Common People’ by Pulp was one of the 90s anthems, and it dealt with the subject matter of those who don’t understand what it is to be poor. And now, nearly twenty years later, as a Tory government set out to destroy everything they didn’t destroy last time round, Plan B’s latest single combines a party anthem with an articulate response on those who refuse to take responsibility for what happened.

It starts with those urgent violins, and then the vocals kick in.

Last summer, as England succumbed to horrific riots, initially as a result of the shooting of Mark Duggan in Tottenham, North London, and then spread across England, people asked where was our ‘Ghost Town?’ Famously, The Specials’ track topped the charts in 1981, at the time of riots then. An unpopular Tory government, a widespread treatment of the underclass as scum, a feeling that the government weren’t listening. 1981 or 2011?

It was both. And here is one man’s response. He’s using irony – and if your response on hearing the track or watching the draw-dropping video is one of disgust, perhaps this is because this is how YOU always react to the stereotypes depicted within.

Here’s what he has to say on the matter.

Plan B’s statement in full (from his website)

” The world, and this country especially, is full of contradictions. I’m just highlighting them, I’m not condoning anything. I aired my feelings about the riots very publicly when they happened and I still feel the same way.

What happened in Tottenham in some ways I can understand but what happened everywhere else in the country was opportunism. I won’t justify it because I don’t agree with it. In fact it upset me so much I want to change it, so I wrote this song to bring the issue back to the forefront of public conversation. I feel it has been swept under the carpet and forgotten about, and it still needs to be properly addressed.

Since the riots happened I haven’t heard enough people within the public sector asking the two most important questions; ‘why did it happen and how can we prevent it from happening again?’ I do have a theory as to why and how but first I need to make my point. And I’ve chosen satire to do so.

The point being made in my song ‘ill Manors’ is that society needs to take some responsibility for the cause of these riots. Why are there so many kids in this country that don’t feel they have a future, or care about having a criminal record?

I think one of the reasons is that there is a very public prejudice in this country towards the underclass. These kids are ridiculed in the press as they aren’t as educated as others, because they talk and dress in a certain way… but they’re not as stupid as people think. They are aware of the ill feelings towards them and that makes them feel alienated. I know because I felt it myself growing up. These kids have been beaten into apathy. They don’t care about society because society has made it very clear that it doesn’t care about them.

An example of this is the word ‘chav’ that means council housed and violent, a derogatory phrase that is openly used by certain sectors of middle England to label and define people from poor backgrounds. It’s a derogatory phrase no different in my opinion to the ones concerning race or sex. The difference is that the papers use it publicly. If they did the same with racial or sexist derogatory terms it would be deemed, and rightly so, as offensive and politically incorrect.
That in my opinion is hypocrisy.

If you’re born into a family that’s has enough money to educate you properly, you are privileged. You’re not better than anyone else you’re just lucky. Certain sectors of middle England, not all of them, but the ignorant ones need to wake up and realise that …and stop ridiculing the poor and less fortunate. That is what this song is about.”

The video is little short of astounding.

…you paying attention?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.