Tender Comrade

“Things like ‘Tender Comrade’ which is talking about the relationships between men in battle, it’s not so much the hardcore politics of old.”Billy Bragg (608)

Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards

“It’s only really the last track, ‘Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards’, that revisits that territory [the hardcore politics of old – Ed], and the song kind of acts as an explanation of what point I’ve got to. I’m basically saying to the listeners, ‘If this record hasn’t been what you were expecting, this is why. I suppose I was trying to tell people that I didn’t have all the answers, and I might not be the person you should rely on as your sole source of information or inspiration. Let’s be honest, I had this public image as Mr Pop & Politics. It wasn’t just the NME where you’d find me, I was getting calls to go on Newsnight. I’d become a spokesman, I was writing articles for The Guardian. It happened, I suppose, because I’ve got opinions, and I also believe that when you’re given an opportunity to communicate you have to take that opportunity.”Billy Bragg (608)

God’s Footballer

“About the Wolves player Peter Knowles who became a Jehovah’s Witness. It’s a song about the nexus of fame and spirituality, how spirituality to some people is more important than being famous. He was a really good example of that, because he was being touted as the next George Best and he basically turned his back on it all. And even though he’s a real person, it’s interesting for me as a songwriter to get inside the character of someone like Peter Knowles, to shine a light on that character’s life, and maybe learn something about myself in the process.”Billy Bragg (608)

I Keep Faith

“It has a message, a very important message that singer/songwriters can’t change the world, but that only the audience can and I get a lot of faith and inspiration from my audience and I suppose in some ways it’s a love song to them.”Billy Bragg (616)

The Space Race Is Over

“This was inspired by, not the first word that Jack [Billy’s son – Ed] said which was “Mum” or the second, which was “Dad”, but the third word which was “Moon”. There was a big full moon sitting in our back garden one night and Jack said, “Moon” and I thought it was absolutely incredible that a child, the third word he manages to say is something that’s not even on our planet. That’s how strong a pull the moon has when we see it. Now I live in the countryside, when the moon comes out everything lights up. The ocean lights up, the countryside lights up. I’m just left to tell him stories of when I was a kid how much I wanted to go to the moon and that’s what this song is about.”Billy Bragg (616)

Saffiyah Smiles

“Following the shocking scenes of white supremacists marching through the streets of Charlottesville this past summer, my mind went back to an image of a young woman facing down a ranting fascist with nothing but a serene smile. Saffiyah Khan had been taking part in a counter demonstration against the neo-fascist English Defence League in Birmingham, England, in April this year when she saw a woman being surrounded by taunting EDL supporters. Saria Zafar was targeted because she was wearing a hijab and when the police failed to intervene, Saffiyah stepped up and got in the face of the loudest aggressor, holding him at bay with nothing more than a smile until police eventually intervened. A press photographer [Joe Giddens – Ed] captured the moment and the picture went viral. Local Labour MP Jess Phillips memorably tweeted the image with the caption, ‘Who looks like they have the power here?’ Saffiyah Khan’s selfless act of solidarity is an inspiration to us all and a reminder that sometimes you can confront hatred by calmly making plain how ridiculous its propagators are.”Billy Bragg (1126)