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Frank Turner: Not Right Wing
The Quietus , September 5th, 2012 02:02

Singer writes statement online

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Folk punk singer Frank Turner has taken to the internet to refute suggestions that he's some kind of mad right winger who says that the UK Film Council are a bunch of thugs who go around lumping citizens for cash. Michael Hann at The Guardian pointed out a selection of interviews where Turner said things like "I consider myself to be pretty right wing", "the BNP are a hard left party", "I think socialism's retarded" or that compared to fizzy drink companies, "I think that state funding is much more of a greater evil on society. Those are my politics.". One could see this as somewhat contradictory to the lyrics in say, 'Thatcher Fucked The Kids', thus.

However, writing on his blog, Turner attempts to make the picture clearer, saying "My politics are based on principles like democracy, individuality, equality of opportunity, distrust of power and, above all else, freedom, including economic freedom."

He added that as he's got older his views have changed: "Once I would have called myself an anarchist. These days I suppose the word "libertarian" does pretty well for me, though I suspect it's a little over-intellectual as a description. I just think the world works better when people are left alone to do what they want as much as possible."

He went on to deny any political affiliation, saying "Incidentally, here's some things I'm not: 'Tory', 'conservative', or 'Republican'. If you don't know the difference between these and libertarians, I suggest reading up a little before slagging me off. I don't consider myself 'right wing' either. I'm just not a leftist."

Turner also tried to clear up the BNP issue: "Obviously I think the BNP are repugnant. They are a socially right-wing / racist party, but their economic policies are pretty authoritarian left wing. I happen to oppose them strongly for both of those reasons."

Frank Turner also says that his views cause ding dongs with some of his muso mates, "Most of my friends disagree with me, not least Billy Bragg and Chris T-T. But, being adults, we understand that intelligent people can disagree about stuff. Despite occasionally running my mouth (a bad habit of mine, which I'm working on) I don't think people who call themselves socialists are evil, mad, stupid or deserving of being attacked; I just see the world differently. In everything I do, I try to treat everyone with equal respect and consideration. I'd hope that the way I’ve gone about my music career would attest to that to some degree. I’ll drink a beer with anyone."

Lee Christmas
Sep 5, 2012 7:03am

I know he's our favourite whipping boy but for crying out loud, he just deserves it doesn't he?

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Stavros P. Leibowitz
Sep 5, 2012 7:17am

Frank Turner: Not right wing - just shit.

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Nick Mann
Sep 5, 2012 8:40am

I don't care what he says, libertarian is still right wing

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Gaz
Sep 5, 2012 8:47am

Massive bellend. Just odious...

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Dan B
Sep 5, 2012 12:06pm

I presume he used a state-funded road to get to the state-funded Olympics which was performed on the state-funded broadcaster in a ceremony featuring state-funded nurses and state-funded athletes before going home to his home filled with state-provided infrastructure such as water, gas, and electric (pre-privatisation) before checking the internet, invented by a publicly-funded scientist at a publicly-funded science research organisation. And of course, his music stinks. Stinks to high heaven. But part of me does wonder why Frank Turner? There's been idiots in music. There's been privileged dolts. Mark E Smith votes Tory. So why Frank? Is it because he agglomerates a whole load of vague leftist prejudices into one Relentless-fizzy-drink loving package, or is it something in ourselves that means we can't even ignore the trite pissweasel? Is it because we saw Young Frank in Million Dead and hoped for so much more and we're reacting against the disappointment of our own youths biting us on the genitals once again? Is it because as we get older we see more of our friends turning into this kind of complacent routine regarding art and politics and somehow that mirrors onto ourselves? Are we hipsters going too far? Or are we justified? WHO KNOWS?

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"Daily Mailer"
Sep 5, 2012 1:03pm

Frank Turner on the BNP "They are a socially right-wing / racist party, but their economic policies are pretty authoritarian left wing". This seems a reasonable description of BNP policy to me.

Frank Turner is an outspoken opponent of ID cards & other intrusions into our civil liberties. He also favours an ideology that is usually supported by people who would keep this country out of pointless foreign wars.

If he is a fan of Hayek, as suggested by Corey in the comments above, he would be doing young people a favour by opposing a bailout that acted as a massive transfer of wealth from the young & poor to the wealthy. He would also be an opponent of the QE that is continuing to reward bankers & the wealthy at the expense of the common taxpayer. He would be an opponent of the artificially low interest rates that are benefiting middle-aged homeowners at the expense of the young.

He would also be likely to favour the legalisation of drugs for adults.

Of course if he claimed to be a Labour man through & through that would probably be OK with you lot, even though it was a Labour government that took us into needless foreign wars, denied a generation of young adults affordable housing, encroached no end on our civil liberties & underwrote the bankers debts when real capitalist pigs would have let them go bust.

I don't defend his music.

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John Doran
Sep 5, 2012 2:25pm

In reply to "Daily Mailer":

I take umbrage at this: no one at the Quietus has new labour allegiances and if you're going to fling mud like this you really should come up with some evidence. There is nothing on this site that could have given you this impression bar your own prejudices.

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"Daily Mailer"
Sep 5, 2012 6:52pm

In reply to John Doran:

John Doran, I'm not accusing The Quietus of supporting New Labour. I've read a couple of excellent articles here about the (non) politics of the Mumfords of this world. The site seems rightly exasperated with the cosiness, shortsightedness & deference to power of the folky worldview. Frank Turner has placed himself outside that group. He seems to have actually taken a position, even if it isn't the one you like. I doubt he would have got quite such a hard time here if he had taken the industry standard "I vote Labour, I heart the NHS, more funding to the arts" line instead.

As you are well aware, many "artists" spouting liberal left platitudes did little to question the policies of the last Labour government, who I have pointed out were more reactionary in certain ways than some on the right. Billy Bragg supported Iraq war hawk Oona King in the 2005 General Election. Right on Billy.

On the other hand, here's barking Thatcherite Daniel Hannan MEP saluting the communists for their sound judgement about bailouts in the EU Parliament. http://youtu.be/e9IYcq6hzJE << There are libertarians pointing out that the rich & corporations are taking working people for a ride. They are doing a better job of explaining the problem than many on the left, who content themselves with asking for a few more crumbs off the table for the poor, even if you despise libertarians & their proposals. Frank Turner might be an old Etonian, but at least he is defending our right to leave the house without having to carry a compulsory ID card "for your own good." Good on him for that.

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Sep 5, 2012 10:18pm

Scratch a "libertarian" find a fascist. Always.

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Samuel James Macklin
Sep 5, 2012 10:21pm

In reply to :

"Scratch a "libertarian" find a fascist. Always."

Sorry that was me. I forgot to put my name. I hate anonymous posters. I stand by my views. 100%.

#scratchalibertarianfindafascist

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Dan B
Sep 6, 2012 2:50am

In reply to "Daily Mailer":

The ID card debate is dead in the water, don't know why you're bringing it up apart from it being one of those rare intersections that libertarianism has with common sense. Funny how Libertarians want to be left alone but will never fucking leave anyone else alone.

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John Doran
Sep 6, 2012 4:34am

In reply to "Daily Mailer":

"Of course if he claimed to be a Labour man through & through that would probably be OK with you lot, even though it was a Labour government that took us into needless foreign wars, denied a generation of young adults affordable housing, encroached no end on our civil liberties & underwrote the bankers debts when real capitalist pigs would have let them go bust." That seems like a self-evident assertion to me. You will also know if you've read the site that we're all libertarian with a small 'l' here. Our Frank, however is Jeremy Clarkson with shorter hair.

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Sep 6, 2012 5:40am

In reply to Samuel James Macklin:

Hi, interesting post.

In regards to American pudits, yes, those who I have seen refer themselves to as Libertarian are often firmly on the right if not crypto-facists.

Libertarianism internationally tends to be left orientated with one distinction being a Social Libertarian who veiws can coincide with socialist principles & have strong anarchist sypathies. They view the state as having a legitimate role in providing base or unviersal health care as part of a state remit. They also veiw large cooporations of suffering the same failings of the "The State" as they can restrict individual libertry.

Would you consider Noam Chomsky a Facist for example?

As for Turner, awful musician. His over-earnestness just grates me personally. Strikes me as a person who reveals a more conservative streak than they think they have pretty quickly in a heated exchange.

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Calum Barnwell
Sep 6, 2012 5:41am

In reply to :

The above's my post.

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Calum Barnwell
Sep 6, 2012 5:43am

In reply to Calum Barnwell:

I ment corporations, not cooperations. They prefer the latter. I need coffee. Badly.

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Niall
Sep 6, 2012 7:23am

A bit off topic, but can anyone answer or recommend any links on how such a 'do what thou wilt' philosophy is actually applied in the real world, ie where selfish, greedy and opportunistic people do exist and land is not infinite? Is the idea that people police themselves and automatically help each other out, or have I got the wrong idea here?

Not digging, just genuinely interested. It just seems to me like quite a romantic 'john wayne' philosophy, that I can't see working in a modern and overcrowded world.

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"Daily Mailer"
Sep 6, 2012 7:46am

In reply to John Doran:

Again, tolerating those who claim to be Labour through & through is different to supporting New Labour. I'm not suggesting the Quietus supports "New Labour" (a phrase I never even used in my original post). I'm suggesting that the Quietus is giving Frank Turner a rougher time for being a libertarian than it would if he trotted out the usual lefty Labour routine, despite the fact that many libertarians are speaking harsher truths to power than many on "the left" did when Labour were in power.

Dan B, the reason I mention ID cards is that that is the subject that Frank Turner spoke about at some length in interviews in 2009, when it wasn't a dead in the water issue. The article, Turner's blog & the link to the Guardian make it clear that the interviews in question took place three years ago. I consider Frank Turner's views on political issues relevant to a discussion about Frank Turner's politics.

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j_hindsight
Sep 6, 2012 8:23am

In reply to "Daily Mailer":

3 of the 5 quotes were 2009. 2 (including mentioning ID again) were from last year.

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Sep 6, 2012 12:58pm

In reply to j_hindsight:

Thank you j_hindsight. I should have said that some of the interviews were from three years ago. At the time Turner had written a dirge called "Sons of Liberty" on the subject & was talking about it a lot. I should have also added that I'm sceptical of Dan B's claim that the ID Card debate is "dead in the water", there are plenty of people who support compulsory ID cards, they are backed by companies that could make a lot of money from being involved with implementing such a scheme.

Niall, here is a link to an anarcho-capitalist discussion forum. I add that Frank Turner isn't an AnCap (neither am I) but they may be of interest to you.http://forum.theuklibertarian.com/index.php

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Sam Macklin
Sep 10, 2012 7:36pm

In reply to :

Yes, I suppose I was talking from a specifically North American perspective.

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