Forever Manchester celebrates everything that is brilliant about Greater Manchester and one of the brilliant things about the conurbation is its diversity.  “The sense that different people, different cultures and different ideas have a right to coexist is deeply ingrained in the city’s thinking” is rightly written into Manchester’s brand values. 
No rational person could disagree with that, but in the run up to the European and local elections there is a sense that the far right, that opposes those values and advocates racism, is gaining ground. 
I am disillusioned with politicians at the moment, but I also realise that it will not be them that I am punishing if I refuse to vote at the elections in June.  If not voting allows the racists to win seats then it is the rest of us that will suffer. 
Do the Right Thing! Vote Against Racism.

Do the Right Thing! Vote Against Racism.

That’s why I’m supporting the Love Music Hate Racism events in the next few weeks.  Music is a fabulous expression of the strengths of a multicultural and multiracial society, and the concerts are an opportunity to dance your arse off and demonstrate unity against the racists at the same time.

In Manchester, this Sunday (24th May) Asian Dub Foundation are headlining at Club Academy on Oxford Rd.  Tickets £10. 

The following Saturday (30th May) the Love Music Hate Racism Festival 2009 takes place at the Britannia Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent.  Yes, it is really happening in Stoke-on-Trent and respect is due to the City Council and the football club for backing it. 

I wasn’t quite old enough to appreciate, at the time, the role that Rock Against Racism played in crushing the fascists in the National Front in the late 1970’s – although I do remember all of the words to “2, 4, 6, 8 Motorway” from my sister’s Tom Robinson LP.  However, I now know that a national movement against fascism was built around the positive energy of the music scene, and that is what Love Music Hate Racism aims to do today. 

So don’t let the North Staffs venue (there are coaches going from across Greater Manchester) or the appearance of the Beautiful South (there is a DJ Arena too) put you off the Festival.  Support the cause, dance yourself silly and look out for Manchester ska-outfit  Kid British , who have recently been added to the bill.

See you on the dancefloor suckers…

If you like the idea behind Love Music Hate Racism then you will appreciate Charlie Brookers excellent column in The Guardian this week about Britishness.

For a history of Rock Against Racism see Dave Widgery’s excellent history of the movement called “Beating Time”