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9 January 2019

Kate Bush has said she isn’t a Tory. I used to say I wasn’t a lesbian

No matter how Bad the opinions of its author: a banger is a banger.

By Eleanor Margolis

From Richard Nixon’s “I am not a crook” declaration, to Keith – someone’s most puce uncle – announcing that he is “not a homophobe”, we so often are the things that we most vehemently insist we are not.  

I spent a great deal of my teen years proclaiming – to myself, at least – that I was not a lesbian. Now I’m writing this from a bed I’m sharing with my girlfriend and two cats.

So Kate Bush’s written statement that she is “not a Tory” does very little by way of discrediting that time she called Theresa May “wonderful”. Bush claims that her 2016 May fangirl moment has been taken out of context, and that she was just glad to see a woman in power. Even though she also said May was “the best thing that’s happened to us in a long time”. (Not to read too much into this, but is anyone else getting a strong sense that “in a long time” means “since Thatcher”?)

Whether you buy it or not, Bush’s statement says more about our own obsession with entertainers’ political leanings than it does about her politics and, as with most things nowadays, I blame Brexit. It probably isn’t a coincidence that Bush has decided to distance herself from the Tories right when they’re at their Toriest and her Guardian-reading fan base is at its most anti-Tory. This isn’t something I’ve investigated, but I’m going to assume the crossover between Leavers and people who know all the words to Wuthering Heights is minimal.

If an artist’s work is apolitical, does it really matter where they personally stand on any given issue? Sure, Shania Twain basically lost her status as a gay icon when she said she would have voted for Trump. But, in the unlikely event that you’re out somewhere and That Don’t Impress Me Much comes on, I dare you not to sing along with unbridled enthusiasm. I dare you. It is perhaps an unfortunate truth that no matter how Bad the opinions of its author: a banger is a banger. Even if it’s a guilty banger that you suddenly have to pretend you’re dancing to ironically because “the world is going to shit anyway, and we’re all going to be dead in about thirty years.”

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There’s no denying it though – post written statement to the contrary – Kate Bush now seems very, very Tory. And if she really is, she should probably just embrace it. She’d be joining the illustrious ranks of politically dodgy British musicians from EDL-meets-PETA Morrissey, to the decidedly gammon Eric Clapton. Heck, they could tour together. Dads nationwide would be ecstatic. Do it for the dads, Kate.

In the meantime, I look forward to Kate Bush inching her way along the political spectrum through a series of denials: “I am not a centrist”, “I am not a Corbynite”, “I am not a Stalinist.” Each time, Babooshka taking on a whole new meaning depending on whether she’s claiming to be pro or anti-Putin that week.