Arts and Entertainment

A music documentary that oozes irritating smugness

inside back: Lights, camera, politicians

During the 1992 election, everybody deplored the fact that the campaign was wholly conducted on the virtual stump of the television screen. This time round, we've all accepted the centrality of the small screen's role, and are far more exercised by the politicians' new addiction to negative campaigning. In 2002, that in turn will have become part of the electoral furniture, and we'll all get a lot more hot and bothered about some other novelty of the hustings: the television debate between the prime ministerial candidates, perhaps, that will surely come to pass next time round.

Election '97: Candidates issued a talk challenge to clear the air

Charter 88, the constitutional reform pressure group, yesterday launched its "Democracy Day" campaign, in which voters get a chance to question parliamentary candidates at the largest public forum of its kind in a general election campaign

Letter: Peace in the East depends on the West

Sir: Alone among the British papers, you rightly highlighted in your leading article (16 September) the importance of the newly concluded Hungarian- Romanian treaty: the potential settlement of one of Europe's most thorny security issues, affecting large numbers of ethnic Hungarians, is a matter which deserves careful attention.

Ashdown says Price is right for voters

Alan Price used to provide the backing for Eric Burdon and the Animals, but today he will be providing the musical support to Paddy Ashdown in a Liberal Democrat party political broadcast.

The Boo Radleys: as not seen on TV

When I hear "Wake Up Boo!" by the Boo Radleys, I reach for my knuckleduster. The song is the musical equivalent of a big, fat Colgate smile, and after a grin like that has been smeared over every radio and TV set in the country for a few weeks, anyone would want to punch it. As for the Boo Radleys, last summer I had an almost continuous urge to trash their guitars, melt their records, wipe the smiles off their faces, and find painful hiding places for those inane, parping trumpets.

Pop Live: Billy Bragg Jazz Cafe, London

Down the Chalk Farm Road they came, veterans of the Miners' Strike and other Eighties struggles, for a night out with an old mate. In these changing times, when even the Labour Party isn't what it used to be, there is something comforting about the sight of Billy Bragg, post-punk poet of the people, alone on stage with his electric guitar.

Letter : Come back Billy Bragg, Labour can't afford to lose you

So Billy Bragg has left New Labour. Thank God for that. Now I can continue to like his records without the nagging feeling that I am covertly supporting Blair's backsliding.

Billy Bragg out of tune with New Labour

Billy Bragg, the socialist singer who once championed Labour's cause in the pop charts, has turned his back on the party.

New Labour loses Billy Bragg's voice

Billy Bragg, the socialist singer who once championed Labour's cause in the pop charts, has turned his back on the party, writes Cole Moreton.

A REBEL WITH A CAUSE

In the 1980s, Billy Bragg was Labour's light in the darkness, pop's champion of the Left. But now the polls predict a Labour victory, it seems that Bragg has turned his back on the party. Why?

Model making - at eight and three quarters

You have to start 'em young on the catwalk. Rose Rouse joins the pushy mums

FESTIVAL FEVER

As a student back in Leeds in the early '80s, this little bookworm was privileged to attend the legendary Leeds Fringe Festival. What a party! Liggers and performers outnumbered punters. Having obtained bogus press accreditation, we established ourselves in a box at the Festival's hub, the City Varieties, where nightly we entertained notables like Billy Bragg. Theatre groups, poets, gigs, pig-squealing sax breaks from busker Xero Slingsby: all presided over by the man from the council smiling bravely as his budget haemorrhaged all over the stage.

Well on the road to Hellville

"The Guildford Four are free. When will the rest of Guildford be free? More importantly, when will the United Kingdom 52 million be free?" Alan Parker - Urban Warrior, campaigning crusader for the oppressed majority (that's you), storms the airwaves tonight (9pm R1) with his third radio series, 59 Minutes of Truth.

ARTS / Outside Edge: James Bloom on the new sound of political protest

LAST THURSDAY saw the opening night of the Velvet Revolution, a nationwide tour of art and music against the Criminal Justice Bill.

Opinions: Which politician would you most like to smack?

SIMON McQUEEN, artist: Michael Portillo should be smacked around the head with a copy of the Criminal Justice Bill. I know it's not strictly relevant to him but he seems like a good person to do it to. It's fairly sad actually because I don't really know any Labour ones, apart from the geezer who's just taken over as leader - what's his name?
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