The left’s focus on “culture wars” at the expense of class issues has cost Labour support in working class areas, according to Brit Award winner Sam Fender.
Speaking to The Big Issue for a wide-ranging cover feature, Sam Fender, who experienced poverty growing up in North Shields just outside Newcastle, said that Conservative wins in the north of England are the result of the broader left’s abandonment of class as a unifying issue.
Pointing to the fact that nearby Blyth Valley went Tory in 2019 for the first time in the constituency’s history, the 27-year-old star said: “You’ve got to ask yourself why that’s happening. And I think it’s because we’ve got a lot of culture wars being fought at the moment, which need to be fought, for things like LGBTQ+ rights, and racism, and gender inequality.
“It’s about fucking time that we’re having the conversations we’re having. But what I think isn’t really spoken about much is class. I don’t think a lot of the left-wing, liberal papers talk about class as much as they probably should. Or they forget that class is threaded through all of these discussions.”
Sam Fender grew up in North Shields, a traditional part of the so-called ‘Red Wall’ of safe Labour seats which has been shaken by Conservative parliamentary gains in recent years. He experienced poverty as a child when his mum was unable to work due to health issues.
He describes himself as a “borderline socialist” and expressed support for Jeremy Corbyn: “I mean, he fucked up a lot of things. But I think his heart was in the right place and that’s something that we’ve not seen for a long time.”