Grime4Corbyn is revived as stars join Rize Up campaign to get young to vote

Labour also launches Arts for All policy charter backed by likes of MIA, Lily Allen and Ken Loach

Labour’s Grime4Corbyn campaign is being relaunched with a refreshed roster of artists, as some of the country’s biggest music stars join a non-partisan campaign to encourage young people to register to vote.

Support from more than a dozen grime artists will be announced, alongside that of other artists, actors and musicians, on Sunday night at the Labour campaign’s arts launch in east London.

Emeli Sandé, MIA, Lily Allen, as well as the filmmaker Ken Loach were among the stars who attended the Arts for All policy charter launch at Theatre Royal Stratford East. Labour committed to put support for the arts “at the heart of government”, promising £1bn of new investment in upgrading and building new libraries, museums, galleries and other arts venues.

The party also promised to invest £175m a year in an arts pupil premium for primary school children, to launch a new “Town of Culture” competition, invest £1bn in youth services, maintain free access to national museums and galleries, and introduce greater transparency in lottery funding.

MIA said: “I’m grateful that someone like Jeremy Corbyn is running”, describing him as “the last stand that England has got”.

The endorsement comes as musicians including Maverick Sabre, Lady Leshurr, Donae’o and Jammer from Boy Better Know back Rize Up, a non-partisan campaign to encourage young people to vote.

Mid tour @MaverickSabre took the time out to talk with @NovarFLIP about the importance of using your vote!

Register to vote by Nov 26th at

— #RizeUpUK (@rizeupuk) November 23, 2019

After receiving funding from the not-for-profit political activism organisation 38 Degrees and the cosmetics chain Lush, and with a call for crowdfunding, Rize Up is financing 30 street teams of young people from youth centres to go out and have face-to-face conversations with their peers about why it is important to vote.

It has also mobilised a further 20 teams of young people in universities to encourage peers to register before Tuesday’s deadline, with the team that reaches the most people promised festival tickets as a reward.

Rize Up is also targeting young homeless people, who are among the most difficult sectors of the electorate to reach. Every Lush store has become an ad hoc advice centre for homeless people seeking to sign up to the electoral roll, and they are offering their premises as registration addresses.

Mohammed Afridi, Rize Up national coordinator, said: “Our core ethos is that the most important thing is to get young people talking to each other in peer to peer conversations. The main thing for us was all the [other] voter registration campaigns are aimed at uni students so we wanted to do something that was aimed at marginalised and BME youth.”

With just days to go, the race is on to try to register as many young voters as possible. Exclusive analysis has revealed that first-time voters could unseat their MP in 56 marginal seats across the country. But according to the Electoral Commission, 29% of people aged 18-34 are not correctly registered to vote, compared to just 6% of those aged over 65.

Although Rize Up’s campaign is non-partisan, young voters skew heavily towards Labour, with 60% of those aged 18-24 voting for Corbyn’s party in 2017.

Grime4Corbyn, and its sister campaign, Fck Boris, remain unashamedly partisan. However, with some of the big names who previously supported G4C having dropped out or made public their disillusionment with politics, some have suggested that the renewed campaign may not have the same effect as in 2017.

A spokeswoman for G4C pushed back against the criticism, saying that reporting of the original campaign in 2017 had elided major-label artists’ independent expressions of support for Corbyn with the Labour-supported community-based campaign.

“Actually the Grime4Corbyn event we had last time was very similar,” she said, pointing out that it was always intended more as a grassroots-focused movement. Many of those taking part originally and this time around were older artists who had been instrumental in forming the underground grime scene.

Sharky Major, Durrty Goodz, Manga Saint Hilare, Lioness, Saskilla, Jamakabi, Nasty Jack, Bruza, Scrufizzer, Ten Dixon, Drifter, Lady Shocker and Taliifah have already been announced, with more special guests expected on the night, she said. Wiley, regarded by many as the godfather of grime, has also separately announced his support for Corbyn.

We want Corbyn not Boris 😂

— Born In January (@WileyUpdates) November 16, 2019

Saskilla, a former member of Roll Deep who was among the headliners of G4C two years ago, said: “I headlined and supported Grime4Corbyn the first time around because he is what the country needs – honesty and someone to take accountability for the country’s mistakes past or present.

“Jeremy is the man for the job unless you want to live in false democracy run by the country’s elite.”


Damien Gayle and Georgina Hayes

The GuardianTramp

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