Concerns have been raised that the annual Latitude festival could become a stronghold and a recruiting ground for a disturbing new political movement.
The term ‘Alt-Centre’ has been coined to describe a group of predominantly young-ish, quite trendy, social media savvy people whose politics are “militantly middle-of-the-road”.
“I think being inoffensive is the new rock ‘n’ roll”, says Zeke Emmanuel. Off The Perch caught up with him in a north London charity shop, where he was looking for James Taylor LPs.
I’ve always gone straight down the middle. Y’know, in quite a hardcore way. I always vote LibDem, so I can still be friends with the whole family at Christmas. Although strangely, from 2010 to 2014, everyone seemed to have a go at me. I love the way Latitude doesn’t have a single act that could ever annoy anyone. It’s really chilled out. I’ve got my glamping yurt booked and I’m looking forward to seeing Mumford & Sons and Fleet Foxes. Although Fleet Foxes are a bit edgy with their off-grid vibe.
I think it’s great that the Alt-Centre is becoming a thing. And Latitude is the perfect rallying point. Being ‘Alt’ means being really really into something. And it makes it sound like a new version of whatever it was you were already into. So I’m totally into compromising and just trying to go along with people. But being ‘Alt’ makes it sound like a cool lifestyle choice and not just me being a doormat. Although the Alt thing can put people’s backs up, which is problematic for Alt-Centrists who don’t ever like to do that.
Off The Perch asked nocturnal election expert and political scientist Professor James Gess what he makes of the ‘Alt’ phenomenon:
Being ‘Alt’ means being really really into something. And it makes it sound like a new version of whatever it was you were already into. Some people even see it as a ‘cool lifestyle choice’. This is useful for the ‘Alt-Right’, because although members tend to still be into throwing Nazi salutes and moving all black-skinned people to the continent of Africa, they can now make a vague pretence at respectability.
It’s completely pointless for the Left, because striving towards a more equal and just society has never needed dressing up as anything other than what it is. That’s why the only people saying ‘Alt-Left’ are people who want to somehow compare left-wing activists with neo-Nazis.
As for the ‘Alt-Centre’… Well, I just think your man Zeke should take a look at himself.
We received a statement from Latitude organisers saying that they are aware of the issue. They’ve always tried to avoid controversy with their artist booking policy. However, if the ‘Alt-Centre’ threat grows, Latitude will follow the example of the formerly bland Superbowl Halftime Show and start featuring overtly political acts to scare people like Zeke away.
Featured image via Flickr
We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support
The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.
The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.
So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.