Brian May Podcast Interview Part 2


Brian May

In this episode, the second part of this three-part podcast, Brian discusses his new YouTube Channel and a number of political subjects.


Brian May in conversation with Nick Weymouth:


BRIAN MAY: The Brian May YouTube Channel – yeah, it’s been a long time coming and I was starting to feel a bit resentful because everything was up there, the Freddie Mercury channel was up there, the Queen channel, the Roger Taylor channel, even the Extravaganza channel and I thought, “Well why am I not doing this?” and there’s a number of reasons, but we are now at that point, so the channel is.  We had a soft release. Part of it is up there, but almost all that Brian May solo stuff is almost ready to go. It’s all been remastered and re-polished. I’m pretty excited about it.

That’s right.  I have the sections and it took us ages to figure it all out ‘cos my life has been quite fragmented in a sense, but the YouTube channel is an opportunity to bring everything under one roof.  So we do have the solo music, which is like great, like “Back To The Light” and “Resurrection” and stuff, and stuff that I’ve done with Kerry, and a load of other things, like I did films like the “Pinocchio” film, “Spider-Man” and God knows what.  There’s a lot of stuff to put up there… The Furia film.  That’s one section and then I have the Stereoscopic section, Stereoscopy section, which is all about from “Diableries” to “Village Lost and Found” – all the stereoscopic Victorian stuff and modern stuff.  All will start going up there.  That’s a great passion, plus we have, well, Animals. A huge part of my life now is dedicated to animals, on a small scale in the rescue operation we do, wildlife rescue, with Anne Brummer, and on a large scale lobbying MPs and working on the public profile, trying to change the way animals are treated in our society. So that’s gonna go up there.

For me it’s now become broader and, as you know, the section of the channel which is completely new is “Brian Talks”, which is me talking to camera.  It’s new to everyone and it’s a very steep learning curve for me, in fact I just spent 3 days making a clip, which we’ve had to bin for the time being because there’s a lot of risk involved in it.  It’s become very political and the reason that’s happened is because I discovered that all the problems we were up against trying to get decent treatment of animals are much broader than I realised.

We’ve spent a lot of time banging our heads up against a brick wall, like getting a huge petition, which eventually was 340,000 people, getting our debate in the House of Commons, winning the vote on the debate, and then discovering that it made no difference whatsoever.  In fact they kind of laughed in our face, you know, and I’ve discovered that so many other people who are fighting for decency and fairness in society are up against the same thing.

We’ve got a system, a Parliamentary system, which enables the Government to absolutely ignore everything that’s going on and do exactly what they want and this Government’s totally taken advantage of it in my opinion.

So I don’t think we have a democracy.  I really feel our democracy has been filched away and we don’t have fairness.  The reason that we’re in a financial mess is because the bankers ripped us off and none of them are in jail and instead of that we’re blaming immigrants.  I think there’s a whole lot of deceit and dissembling in Parliament.  We don’t get told the truth.  I mean, the first thing that democracy has to have, it has to have information, which is accurate and truthful, and we don’t have that.  We have newspapers that are biased, we have politicians who tell lies in the House of Commons, which is scandalous, and no-one seems to be able to pull them to account.

So I find myself, as having been brought up as a middle class Tory, I find myself being completely frustrated and angry, realising that actually we have no power.

Asked would this be the case whoever was in power?

No, I think this Government has particularly really taken advantage and I think their very nature is to take advantage and I think the old-fashioned kind of Tory that David Cameron is, is built on this business of privilege and we’re all in austerity, or whatever, but the top layer of Cameron’s mates are absolutely the same as they ever were. They’re rich landowners.  They don’t feel austerity.  They’re actually making more money than they ever did before.  So it’s utterly unfair. These people have power and they shouldn’t do. In my mind nobody should have power because they were born rich.  Why should that give them power over the rest of us, and this whole idea, you know, I find it very obnoxious and quite disgusting, the fact that the attitude of the Government is, if you’re poor, it’s your own fault.  You haven’t tried hard enough.  I don’t believe that.  I believe that people are born with privilege and unfair advantage.

Sometimes it’s just luck. Where you’re born.

Absolutely, some guy’s born and he owns half of Scotland because he’s born into a certain family.  That’s the situation and to me it’s iniquitous and it must change.

You know, I came through the Swinging Sixties and Harold Wilson and The Beatles and we all thought, “Ah, this old ship that’s old England is all being swept away”, you know. “There’s not gonna be an aristocracy anymore.  There’s gonna be… everyone’s gonna be equal.”  Well, it didn’t happen.  Everybody thought it was happening, but it didn’t and I think under this Government we’ve gone way back.  It’s absolutely ‘us and them’.  It’s the rich and the poor and the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, and for the first time in my life I think I’m beginning to understand how that is done.

So me, I share this feeling with Russell Brand.  He’s very different from me.  Whether you like him or not, and there’s probably plenty of reasons not to like him, bless him, but it’s irrelevant.  What he’s saying, if you look at what he’s saying I always say a huge percentage of it is very true and alarming and needs to be said.  That’s why he makes so many enemies.  He’s been vilified and if people are vilified it’s very often a sign that they’re doing something good, ‘cos people get frightened.  All the people in these positions that are perhaps threatened if there’s an upheaval will fight to the death to stop somebody coming in and announcing it.  So I share this feeling that we are in crisis.  We are in a terrible time and it’s getting worse and we’re being lied to, so the idea of really starting “Brian Talks” was to address this and try and tell the truth as I see it and I’d like to go a lot further than the idea of Common Decency.

Common Decency puts a label on it, yes, which is perhaps good, but there is much more to it than that and… ah…. well – I have a plan.

Common Decency embodies a plan, which I hope would be able to change Britain and I’m not alone in it.  I’ve been talking to a lot of people who are in the same position as I am.  People like the National Health Action Party who are trying to make people aware that on the one hand Cameron is saying, “I’m saving the National Health”, but on the other hand he’s splitting it all up and selling pieces off to his mates to make a profit out of it.  Now the idea of private companies making a profit out of our ill health to me is just disgusting and unacceptable.  People don’t realise so, this NHA Party, that’s their platform and I discovered that they’re very similar to me.  They’re trying to be heard.  They’re trying to speak the truth and they’re getting attacked by all the people that they will upset.

Will there be something on your channel that people can be involved with?

There will be next week because we will have the website up.  I’m happy to say that now, yeah. Next week we’ll have the website up and running.  You’ll be able to sign up and become a member of the Common Decency Initiative or whatever it is and I will try to make it clear what we’re gonna do.  I can say very clearly and very openly, it will be very open.  The whole idea of Common Decency is that everything we do will be transparent.  It will be aboveboard.  

I give you an example, at the last election there was an organisation called Vote-OK and they were all about fox hunting.  So the idea of Vote-OK was to try, with the collusion of the Tory Head Office, and try and get MPs into the House who, when the vote came to abolish the ban on fox hunting to bring back blood sports, these people would stand up and vote for it.  And they succeeded, but it was kinda underhanded, because on the one hand Cameron was saying, “Oh fox hunting’s not an issue that’s important to us”, you know, ”we might have a free vote”, but on the other hand, all these people were beavering away underneath, leafleting and spreading propaganda and forcing these MPs on constituencies, which were vulnerable.  They succeeded.  So Vote-OK managed to put almost enough people in Parliament to smash the Act, which protects wild animals.  They didn’t quite succeed because the Tories had to go into a coalition to form a government, but we were very close and the only reason that Cameron didn’t bring in his free vote on fox hunting and stag hunting and bearbaiting and whatever was because he knew he couldn’t win.  You know, to have brought that vote up and lost it would have been very face… losing face and it would have obviously damaged their cause.

But this is one of the dishonesties that I resent.  We have a Cabinet who are almost all fox hunters, in the past – almost all in that community – and yet they pretend that it doesn’t matter to them and they seem to spend their whole life conniving to try and change little bits of the Law, little bits of procedure, which will make it, you know, try to bring… they tried very hard to bring fox hunting back through the back door because they couldn’t win that vote.  Now to me it’s obnoxious and it’s not the will of the people that’s been demonstrated time and time again.

Mediaeval?  I don’t get it.  When I was younger… across the fields….

It is, it’s barbaric.  You couldn’t believe it, could you?  No, and yet there’s people who will fight to the death to try do {it}.  It’s almost like there’s two kinds of human being, it seems to me, but having said that, there are an awful lot of people who go on these hunts who are not into the blood and we’re discovering that there are very good people involved with horses who would like to break away from the actual blood kill side of things, so we’re getting more and more in touch with these people, and that’s one of the projects for the New Year, to establish and connect a community which enjoys the outdoors, enjoys its horses, enjoys a gallop on a crisp Winter morning, but which shares a determination to eliminate cruelty from the countryside.  

That’s why I try not be an extremist.  I try and always listen to people and keep a sense of humour.  So I know some people in the Countryside Alliance and I don’t hate them.  I have a kind of respect for their point of view, but I don’t agree with it and I think the fact that I can still have a dialogue and the fact that I’m still non-politically aligned makes a big difference.  I mean, Anne and I go into the Portcullis House and the House of Commons a lot of times, which are in the course of a year – a lot of times in the course of a week sometimes – and we can talk to everyone and we can go into the offices of all the parties because we’re not anti any particular party.  We’re just anti certain ways of thinking.  So we have some great Tories on our side and some people will be shocked by me saying that, you know. “What, what, what? You’ve got some good Tories. What are you saying?”  And to me this is the future.

So, if I can return to Common Decency, my dream is that we would have a House of Commons in the future, which is not split into parties.  It’s full of people more like the European Parliament where people represent their own conscience and the will of their constituents.  In other words, have people in there.  Take away the corruption, take away the coercion, take away the whip.  

Now the whip is an ancient tradition, and I don’t know the major part of the population even understands how it works. I didn’t. I didn’t.  “What’s a three-line whip?”  Well I’ll tell you.  Wanna know what a three-line whip is?

When we had the badger vote, the vote on the badger, at the end of the debate there is a vote and that’s the way that things always work and the vote will determine what happens, and it turns out that some votes are gonna make a difference and some are not, and most of them aren’t.  But if it’s a vote which is gonna be crucial to the Government and if they lose it they’re gonna lose ground, what they will do is call in the whips, and the whips go round basically and offer a carrot to MPs and whip.  So they’ll say to some MP, “I hear that you might vote against the Government on this issues of badgers because you think the badger cull is a waste of time.  Well, if you do that, it’s a real shame because there’s this great Government post that’s coming up next week and you could be in line for it.  If you vote for it you won’t be in line for it, plus you’re being treated very well at the moment.  You get time off to go and see your kids at the weekend.  That will stop actually if you vote for this bill.”

That is what happened and we, for the first time I was able to see that and it’s all these MPs who would’ve voted with us weren’t able to.  No, I’m not talking about the first vote. I’m talking about a later vote.  There’s been a lot going on here.  But to me that’s corrupt and that’s unfair and that stops democracy working properly.  I would sweep it away and there’s a lot of things in Parliament, which I would sweep away, and yeah, that’s my view.

Common Decency for me and the friends of mine who are working for it would try and put a new kind of Parliament in session, which would not have any allegiances to partie; also would not have allegiances to vested interests.  That’s the other thing.  We have seen votes happen recently where a significant number of the MPs that are voting have a financial interest in the outcome of the vote.  That should NEVER be allowed.  How could you possibly?  You know these people will be Directors of some company, which will benefit from fracking or whatever.  Just I’m speaking hypothetically and they can vote on an issue, which affects them.  How can that be democracy?  How can that be fair?  So, you know, there’s an awful lot to address and I don’t think the major parties are addressing it.  I think they’re perpetuating the status quo.  

I would like to see all that crumble.  I would like to see people in Parliament who are independent, have a mind of their own, have a conscious, are not career-minded, they’re not trying to work their way up inside a party, but they will vote according to their conscience and according to the will of their constituents, ‘cos that’s why they’re there. That’s the way democracy should work.  It’s not working that way at the moment.

You’re gonna channel a lot of this through your YouTube channel and then you’re gonna have this hub for Common Decency. This is a huge subject to take on…

It is a big thing and maybe I’m a naive dreamer, I dunno, you know, but if somebody doesn’t stand up and try, then nothing ever happens.

Maybe that’s what a music career has taught me.  You know, if you have big dreams, if you visualise something big, you have a chance of achieving something big.  If you don’t have dreams you ain’t gonna achieve.  Your dreams are not gonna come true.

There’s a great song that says that, you know…. It’s in “South Pacific”… [Sings] “If you don’t have a dream, if you don’t have a dream, how you have a dream come true”.  It’s a very wise song.  But it’s true.  If you don’t dream, if you don’t try, if you don’t step up and put your head above the parapet, nothing will happen.  There’s a great saying, you know: “Evil happens when a lot of good people do nothing.

” Who said that? Can’t remember.

Sound’s good. Take it. Brian May….

[Play out – Seaside Rendezvous]