No classical musicians among Corbyn’s backers

No classical musicians among Corbyn’s backers


norman lebrecht

November 26, 2019

The Guardian has published a letter headlined ‘Musicians backing Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour’.

Only one type of musician, apparently.


  • James says:

    Only one type of musician? Looks quite varied to me.

  • John Rook says:

    What would one expect? This is typical of the vacuous, anti-intellectual stance of a populist party which considers anything requiring talent, patience and application elitist. May they wallow as one in their self-congratulatory effluent and leave the rest of us alone.

    • Symphony musician says:

      To John Rook,
      It is a good idea to check facts if you are tempted to rant based on prejudice.
      FYI I’m unlikely to vote Labour in this election.
      However, a simple internet search reveals a Labour manifesto which includes a “Charter for the Arts”: it’s well worth a read as it would gladden the hearts of we who value culture.
      Corbyn’s credentials and views in this area are laudable, certainly in comparison with other major party leaders. Consider for example the damage to the Arts wrought by first the coalition government, then the Conservatives, through reduced and constrained direct funding, and seriously reduced local-government funding, which has squeezed local arts funding almost to death.
      The letter/article in the Guardian would, I imagine, have been welcomed by Labour, but it was clearly instigated by a group of individuals who either don’t know any important classical musicians or didn’t think their contribution was important; classical musicians are presumably welcome to issue separate statements of support.

      • Pro Muso says:

        Thanks for your rational comments. As you point out the damage done by the coalition and the Conservatives, and Labour’s charter for the arts, I can’t imagine why you would not vote to implement this change. Most of the professional musicians I know will be supporting Labour, as, apart from any other reasons, the Tories are killing off our profession.

    • Calvin says:

      Surprising open letter since Boris Piccaninny Watermelon Letterbox Cake Bumboys Vampires Haircut Wall-Spaffer Spunk-Burster Get-Off-My-F-ing-Laptop Girly-Swot Big-Girl’s-Blouse Chicken-frit Technology Lessons Get-Stuffed Johnson sounds like a great rapper name.

  • The View from America says:

    I’m sure there are more than a few classical musicians who back Corbyn and his party. But what this more likely infers is that few journalists think classical performers are important enough to include them on any list of musicians. To them, the vast majority of readers don’t care one whit about classical music, which makes including the names of classical performers a complete irrelevancy.

    As another well-known controversial politician would say, “SAD.”

  • christopher storey says:

    All Corbyn needed to complete his hat-trick of disasters was endorsement by rap and grime “artists” ! ( Iwould not dignify them with the term musicians)

  • erich says:

    Perhaps we should turn this question around: have we heard any positive statements from any of the main party leaders on the subject of classical music? Not bloody likely. Not a vote catcher for the prevailing Philistinism in the UK.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      London, regarded by many as the CM capital of the world, is now Philistine. Apparently. Don’t let the nasty little mung-bean chewing, sandal-wearing, anti-semitic old academic Lefty put you off. He’ll be gone shortly. He’s soooooo last century.

      • cor-bin says:

        academic? since when has this lefty loon taught anything anywhere to anything with more intelligence than a newt?

        • Sue Sonata Form says:

          Yes, exactly. He’s only the tip of the ‘academic’ iceberg where agitprop rules!! And it’s all then celebrated in “The Guardian”.

          As Ninotchka said, “won’t be long now, comrades”.

          • Saxon Broken says:

            Corbyn wasn’t bright enough to go to university; his school leaving grades were terrible. He really is not academic.

      • Paul Brownsey says:

        Interesting how you spew terms of abuse without filtering them through anything like a mind.

      • Nik says:

        Academic?!? The man is as thick as mince. He managed two A-Levels at grade E, then went to a poly but dropped out after the first year. Some academic record that is.

        • pjl says:

          but he is an outstanding constituency MP who relates to local people in a way eton boris cannot. Yes Boris is good at Latin but so was Enoch Powell. Boris is a musical philistine but Corbyn has often spoken of his love for classical music, especially Mahler and he has the imagination to perceive how some younger listeners prefer grime etc. My fellow English graduate from st Peter’s Oxford (Ken Loach) supports mr Corbyn and I prefer him to the Bullingdon bullies also.

          • batonbaton says:

            Boris a musical philistine? Not true – once sat behind him at Garsington (Mozart — The Marriage of Figaro). In the interval he had a fulsome conversation with friends about various interpretations he had heard. True, he might not be seen at the Garden as often as that self-opinionated bore Mellor, but he has clearly spent some time listening to at least some music and opera.

          • PJL says:

            but was he there for the music or to be at Garsington? He has stated clearly that he is not a fan of opera but glad you see through that boor Mellor who gets a radio show on his name when thousands of cd collectors know more than he. At the recent superb ELGAR Apostles Brabbins RFH he left at the interval…..

          • Saxon Broken says:

            PJL writes: “[Boris] has stated clearly that he is not a fan of opera”

            This is a comment he made to appear a-man-of-the-people. It really is not true. Boris knows and enjoys opera. You have to understand — almost nothing Boris says is true.

      • JB says:

        You clearly don’t have any prejudices yourself, do you?

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    “The Guardian” is a nasty little, grievance-filled rag.

  • Singers’ advocate says:

    As an opera coach, I can guarantee that my social media feed is absolutely full of “classical” musicians who support Corbyn and the Labour Party.

  • Tim says:

    Actually, many of the UK’s orchestral musicians (like me) are strongly supportive of Corbyn and we’re aghast when our Union came out in support of Owen Smith.

    The arts, like many other public services, are suffering and in urgent need of state support.

    We recognise that Corbyn has regularly spoken out in support of the arts, as well as music education in schools.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Corbyn has promised money to everyone and anyone. It is very unlikely that anything more than a small proportion of what has been promised will ever be given.

  • I’m a classical musician who supports Corbyn. Most of my classical colleagues do.

  • Rob says:

    There’s very little hope left in the UK, morale is at an all time low. Food banks, a decimated NHS and a property ladder that has been snapped into bits of firewood. People don’t actually believe that life can be better under Corbyn because they have been numbed into paralysis by the current lie machine.

  • MJ says:

    Shame on classical musicians if they are really backing this flagrant anti-Semite. If people are going to leave the UK fearing for their safety that is a terrible indictment of any political party and its leader. This has never been seen before in post Second World War Britain.

    • Tim says:

      Again, worthless unless you provide evidence. You explicitly accuse Corbyn here of being an anti-semite yet I see no evidence that he is, and lots that he isn’t.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      There is no particular evidence that Corbyn himself is anti-semitic (although he finds it difficult to conceive of Jews being victims). However, some of the people associated with him certainly are anti-semitic.

  • Hilary says:

    I can think of numerous classical musicians who back Corbyn.

  • George says:

    The more pertinent question: how many musicians support Boris Johnson?

    If any musician in the U.K. hopes to work regularly with European colleagues, or travel on a relatively easy basis, they’d better vote Labor. The alternative is insanity.

    • Nik says:

      I don’t understand your reasoning at all. Could you please explain?
      If you want to vote for a party that wants to cancel the referendum result and remain in the EU, you have to vote LibDem.
      Corbyn has been anti-EU his entire career, long before Ukip even existed. He has voted against the EU at every opportunity. He is now saying that Labour would remain ‘neutral’ should there be another referendum.

      • Saxon Broken says:

        Labour seems to have promised another referendum. Which will provide an opportunity to overturn Brexit.

        Which party to vote for, if you want to overturn Brexit, will depend on the seat in which you vote.

  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    They are supporting the loosing team anyway. At least, hopefully that is the case.

  • not klezmer, that’s for sure

  • antonio leocadio guzman says:

    He should move to Venezuela. The El Sistema musicians will attend Corbyn’s rallies, sign letters and petitions, wear Labour t-shirts and hats, and go on social media to defend him… in exchange for a carton of eggs and a bar of soap every month.