At a time when opinion trumps facts and truth is treated as nothing more than another perspective, free speech has become a battleground. While authoritarians and algorithms threaten democracy, we argue over who has the right to speak.
To protect ourselves from encroaching tyranny, we must look beyond this one-dimensional notion of what it means to be free and, by reconnecting liberty to equality and accountability, restore the individual agency engendered by the three dimensions of freedom.
Billy Bragg has been a tireless recording artist, performer and political campaigner for over thirty years. His albums include his punk-charged debut, Life’s a Riot with Spy Vs Spy, Talking with the Taxman About Poetry, Don’t Try This at Home, the treatise on national identity timed to coincide with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, England, Half English, and his stripped-down latest, Tooth and Nail. Billy has enjoyed a No. 1 hit single, had a street named after him, been the subject of a South Bank Show, appeared onstage at Wembley Stadium, curated Left Field at Glastonbury, shared spotted dick with a Cabinet Minister in the House of Commons cafeteria, been mentioned in Bob Dylan’s memoir, and shaken hands with the Queen. At their best, his songs present “the perfect Venn diagram between the political and the personal” (The Guardian). Billy published A Lover Sings in 2015, containing over seventy of his best-known lyrics, selected and annotated by the author.
Natasha Devon’s event is available to watch on YouTube or on @PanMacmillan Instagram TV channel until 24 June and she will be doing a live Q & A on Monday 1 June at 6 pm on Pan Macmillan’s Instagram channel. You can order Natasha’s book by email to email@example.com or call 020 8552 9993.
Are you locked down with children in years 5 or 6? We have four lessons for classroom or family use developed from On the Record’s oral history project centered around Newham Bookshop, Writing and Reading Newham. Click here for full details.
Michael Rosen’s poem, These Are The Hands, features in a book of poems from the heart of the NHS, which has just been published.