Top 10 British protest and political songs
Cocker – Running the World (2006)
Originally written about Blair and Bush, I think this is more appropriate now than it ever has been.
Bragg – Never Cross a Picket Line (1990)
You can’t have a list of the best political and protest songs without the king of political music.
Allen – Hard Out Here (2014)
Lily Allen manages to reference body image, double standards, Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines and the glass ceiling all in one song.
4. The Jam –
Eton Riffles (1979)
We still have old Etonians running the country, including the Prime Minister and Mayor of London. Apparently David Cameron is a fan of this song, to Paul Weller’s dismay.
5. Pulp – Cocaine
Jarvis Cocker wrote Cocaine Socialism after being contacted by one of Blair’s minions during the 1997 general election campaign begging for his support, to try and make Blair look cool. An angry Jarvis Cocker wrote this in response.
Street Preachers – If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next (1998)
In 2009, it was discovered that the song was used on the website of the British National Party as the soundtrack of an article describing “the violence, hatred, fragmentation and despair” wrought on London by the “great multicultural experiment”. Obviously the Irony was lost on them.
7. Lily Allen – Fuck
Her opinions on the British National Party are made pretty clear, she did also once dedicate it to the FIFA President.
Turner – Thatcher Fucked The Kids (2006)
Turner actually regrets writing this saying “I regret writing the song simply because I started getting a lot of people coming to my shows who didn’t give two shits about my music. I’d just said something they agreed with. There’s a fair amount of analysis in that song that I would 100% stand by, but writing that was almost dipping a toe into the world of being a protest singer. I tried it, I really didn’t like it, and so I did something else with my life.”
9. Pulp –
Common People (1995)
Although being one of the most famous songs of the 1990s, Common People never actually made it to number 1 unfortunately. Should have done though.
10. Plan B – Ill Manors (2012)
Ill Manors was written as a response to 2011’s riots and “society’s failure to nurture its disadvantaged youth.” The Guardian described Ill Manors as “the first great mainstream protest song in years.”