How do you unseat an MP of 27 years with a 14,000 majority? You might do it with poetry. Simon de Deney, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, a Stoke Newington based actor and writer, is taking a new approach to political campaigning.
He has written and filmed a poem inspired by Maya Angelou's 'And Still I Rise'. 'Hackney Rise' is an appeal to people in Hackney to register, to vote and get involved in politics.
“I only got involved in politics in 2010. But I’ve met many amazingly enthusiastic and committed campaigners making lives better for people in their local communities. We need more of them. It’s great that a performer like Russell Brand has got involved in politics. But I think his beliefs about not voting are reversing democracy full speed up a cul de sac. We’ve got the democratic tools. We just need more of us to use them more often. Otherwise the same predictable careerists will carry on holding the keys to the shed.
"‘Hackney Rise’ aims to celebrate what I love about Hackney, its vibrancy and diversity. The mix is what makes us healthy, tolerant and resilient. We need to act immediately on things like providing genuinely affordable housing to help keep Hackney a model for modern Britain.
"I realise it may seem bananas for a Candidate to suggest that people might want to join other parties too. But I think it’s vital we get more people engaged. And then, obviously, everyone will see the common sense of Lib Dem policies…"
Text of Hackney Rise
Don’t write us off in history
As people whom you despise
You think you can ignore us, well
This year watch Hackney rise.
Do our rainbow lives disturb you?
Bodies swaying, arms unfurled
‘Cosx we dance like we’ve created
One borough from all the world.
The waters from the Ganges
Flow into the River Lea
With the Dnieper, Niger, Indus,
Before it swells the sea.
Do you think you can divide us
With your immigration lies?
It’s the quilting of us that makes
Swap your sofas for soapboxes
No more tweets, you’ll hear us roar
We’re as mad as hell and we're not
Going to take this any more.
You've always known what's best for us
Told us who rents and who buys
Built too few homes so you inflated
Hackney's price rise.
Are we really “in this together”?
You mock us with your replies
Austerity won't bring us down
Not with writing or riots
We will sing it from our throats
We’re taking back democracy
Our weapon will be our votes
Not registered? Then register.
Don't like voting in the rain?
Sign up for a postal vote
Join a party. And campaign.
Choose your colour, blue, red, green or gold
Up together shattering the mould
We are the prism that scatters the light
And joins it once more increasing our might
Banishing darkness, the arguments clear
Common sense politics, not based on fear
You think we’ll wait for our stars to align
We’re the ones who’ll create the party line
Won’t leave it till our daughters and sons shine