British Ideas Corporation, 2014
Is aura something you’re born with or something you develop? At Festival No.6’s inaugural gathering two years ago, Bez arrived in the VIP tent at 1pm on Saturday and was joined by a growing throng who, it seemed, had Terminator T-1000 abilities to morph into metallic puddles, seep beneath fences and re-form moments later by the bar. As the ranks swelled, the Happy Mondays’ performance-artist/percussionist paced around the tent like a cat that had been let into a new house. Such was Bez’s entrance that you couldn’t take your eyes off him, and then you realised that your sleepy Last Of The Summer Wine setting had transformed into a Bedknobs And Broomsticks-type cartoon.
The egregious Pink!, pop’s coal miner in a dress, once had the impudence to sing, “I’m coming up, so you’d better get this party started”, over-inflating her own self-importance, as if nothing could operate until her arrival. But in 2012, Festival No.6 didn’t really begin until Bez turned up.
Today, Bez is involved with other parties – political ones. Inspired by fracking protestors, he’s become a prominent voice of anti-globalisation. British Ideas Corporation spoke with Bez by phone but faced communication breakdowns at critical points. Maybe Big Brother is watching us; maybe Bez lives in an area with a shocking mobile signal.
BIC: Why move into politics?
Bez: I decided to take up politics after I’d been asked to go and visit the fracking site at Barton Moss [in Salford] ’cos the protestors there were struggling. They weren’t getting no press coverage, weren’t getting no hope. I’d been watching events quietly from the side because I’ve got into this permacultural lifestyle. I never thought fracking would come to this country. It’s that insane that I didn’t think this government would do it to its own people, but how wrong can you be?
Why does fracking get so little television coverage?
They’re getting on with it quietly. You can’t even see coverage on debate programmes. As soon as anyone finds out what fracking is, nobody will want it. It goes much further than we think. There’s reports that the fracking wells will be sites for nuclear waste. We’ve got £50bn worth of the stuff at Sellafield and nowhere to put it, and we’re taking other countries’ waste because we want to announce that we’ve found a way of making uranium safe. You can’t make uranium safe!
So you think the waste will be dumped down fracking wells?
They’re talking about it. It’s going to completely wipe us out. We’re reaching the point where we’re losing control. There’s this treaty coming up in November [the enforcing of the Treaty of Lisbon] where the Queen could sign over sovereignty to federal Europe and if that happens, we’re f***ed. In Europe, we’ll definitely get fracked and the Queen can give up responsibility for it and say, “It’s not my fault we got fracked!” Europe will decide what happens to us and we’ll get GM-modified food and we’ll get fracked.
Who makes the decisions?
It’s the corporate bankers who run Europe. We need to stand up against them. It’s the Fourth Reich, basically. The deal was signed in 1944 [a pact between the SS and German industrialists, once war had shifted in the Allies’ favour, as recorded by a US intelligence report named “Odessa”]. American corporates financed the war. Hitler was a double agent. Once you find out all these things, of all the evil and war that’s spread [phone signal breaks]… personally, I’ve had enough of it. The usual way to fight back is with blood, but I’m going to use love and awareness. I’m giving people the chance to have somebody representing them and maybe [phone signal breaks]… I’m a conscious warrior because I don’t think the planet should be destroyed by this great evil [phone signal breaks]…
We’ve got a bad line, haven’t we? Are you affiliated to the Green Party?
No, because they’re a bunch of commies. Basically, I want to end the banking system, the root of all evil. You’ve got to remember that all these world leaders work for the banking system, the financial system of their country [phone disconnects. We re-dial].
Let’s keep going as best we can. We’re almost there.
Right, well, I was saying that I’d like to change things through the ballot box. We’ve got a mind-set that needs changing. If you try to do it through violence, they’ve got every weapon, all the equipment, they’ve got everything. We’ve got to do this through peace and love.
Have you any thoughts on the Scottish referendum?
It’s up to them to make their mind up, but I hope they do it and get a chance to create their own country and break away from the corporate monsters.
Are you becoming an MP?
Yes, I’m running in Salford in 2015. This is the build-up to it, this is the [phone disconnects]…
Bez’s Question Time is at The Central Piazza, Portmeirion, Festival No.6, on Sunday, 7 September. festivalnumber6.com
WHAT IS FRACKING?
In July, the government invited energy companies to bid for onshore oil and gas licences in a prelude to widescale fracking across Britain. Around 2,900 wells will be drilled, generating a fifth of the UK’s required gas. Here’s the fracking process:
As only half the fracking fluid is recovered, the danger is that toxic chemicals might leak into groundwater. The UK government states that US contamination occurred due to faulty well construction.
However, unlike the US, it is not expected that fracking will lower UK bills. During a speech at the London School of Economics in 2013, Lord Browne, chairman of fracking company Cuadrilla, said: “We are part of a well-connected European gas market and, unless it is a gigantic amount of gas, it is not going to have material impact on price.”
RITUAL DISUNION: VIEWS ON SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE
Ian McLeish, editor-in-chief, Inside United: “I was never nationalistic but the idea of a modern, independent country that’s free of the Tory yoke is tempting. And the bullyboy tactics of George Osborne and Theresa May, threatening Scotland with punishments if they go it alone, has been infuriating. But now Better Together has realised how negative its campaign was and they’ve gone touchy-feely.”
Greg Wilson, DJ and producer: “There are pros and cons on both sides of the debate – it’s an historic moment for the country, whatever they decide, so I hope it works out well for the majority of Scots. I’m sure David Cameron won’t relish the legacy that will come with the union breaking up under his stewardship, so he’ll be pulling out all the stops, while the Yes campaign may never have a better opportunity in their pursuit of independence.”
J Willgoose, Esq, Public Service Broadcasting: “From a selfish point of view, I’d hate to see Scotland leave the UK. We’d be poorer without them in a number of ways and I love visiting and I love playing there. It’s their choice, though, and I can understand people feeling disillusioned with UK politics, as well as being distanced from it. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Yes vote win with a late surge but for my own reasons I’ve got my fingers crossed that they give us another chance.”