Stormzy backs Labour in election with call to end austerity

Damien Gayle
Photograph: Ian West/PA

Stormzy has thrown his support behind the Labour party and called on people to register to vote to “end austerity, rebuild our communities and take back the means to change our lives for the better”.

In a letter to the Guardian, the multiple award-winning grime MC from London joins a number of music industry artists – including Akala, Professor Green, Kano, Lowkey, Saskilla, Sharkey Major and Charlie Sloth – in saying they will be voting for Labour on 12 December.

Related: How do I register to vote in 12 December 2019 general election?

“Ending austerity will, for the first time in many of our lifetimes, use the taxes we all already pay into, to reinvest in the housing, youth clubs, community groups and cultural centres being destroyed by the current government,” the letter says.

“We are under no illusions about Labour’s own imperial history, and we don’t think the British establishment is fundamentally going to change. But we are sick of our taxes being spent on fighting more wars and building more jails.

“Jeremy Corbyn has been one of the few people who has fought against injustice all his political life, from apartheid South Africa to the bombing of Libya.”

The deadline for voter registration is Tuesday 26 November and the letter is both a call to support Labour and a last-ditch attempt to persuade potential voters who are not registered to sign up. Young voters heavily skew towards Labour, with 60% of those aged 18-24 voting for Corbyn’s party in 2017.

“The opportunity for people-led change can be made possible under a Jeremy Corbyn Labour government. End austerity, rebuild our communities and take back the means to change our lives for the better,” the letter says.

“Surely, in an election that could transform the livelihoods of many, and be the difference between life or death for many more, life is something worth voting for.”

Securing the backing of Stormzy, one of the UK’s biggest recording artists, is a major coup for the Labour party. After lending his support in 2017, Stormzy was credited in part for the “youthquake” that boosted Corbyn’s party in that year’s election.

His declaration “Fuck Boris”, a line from his number one single Vossi Bop, became one of the most memorable moments of his headline set at Glastonbury this summer, and was later borrowed by the Labour-supporting youth group FckBoris.

But after Stormzy held back from giving FckBoris his explicit backing, and after some of the original Grime4Corbyn artists indicated they would not repeat their support for Labour this year, it was suggested he might also hold off from a public endorsement.

In the end, G4C relaunched on Sunday night, with many of the original artists on board. Stormzy’s backing for the open letter was secured at the same time, the Guardian understands.

A separate letter has also been published in which more than 500 artists and musicians – many of them under 40 – pledge their support for Labour. The poet Kate Tempest, the musician Brian Eno, the writers Sophie Mackintosh and Sabrina Mahfouz and the political philosopher Srećko Horvat are among those who call for a Labour victory “not just for the future of the United Kingdom, but as a message to show the world”.

The letter, published in Tribune, says the UK stands at a crossroads. “On one side is the Conservative world of self-preservation, closed borders, spiralling homelessness and poverty, inertia on the climate crisis, privatised education and cuts to arts funding,” they write.

“On the other is Labour’s commitment to free movement and ending the ‘hostile environment’ for migrants, a green industrial revolution, protection of workers’ rights, public ownership of key industries, free education, and serious investment in the arts.”

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