“Karren Brady has been made Culture Secretary?!?” was the confused cry across music business offices on Thursday, as new Prime Minister Theresa May unveiled her first cabinet reshuffle.
At least people would have known who Lord Sugar’s Apprentice sidekick was. In fact, the person hearing the words “You’re hired!” across the Downing Street table was Staffordshire Moorlands MP Karen Bradley, about whom the music business appears to know the square root of absolutely nothing.
Trawling through Bradley’s Facebook page, we failed to find a single significant reference to music. Although there were posts referring to visits to reservoirs and “community sheds” that lent her political life a slightly surreal sheen of Alan Partridge-esque spoof.
Even Partridge had a soft spot for Roachford and Wings, however, so it’s to be hoped that Bradley’s musical tastes run deep. Outgoing Culture Sec John Whittingdale may have talked his fair share of nonsense – on the BBC and Brexit in particular – but there was never any doubt he was a genuine music fan.
Bradley, however, seems more likely to visit a cracking owl sanctuary than an Iron Maiden moshpit. Does it matter if it turns out she doesn’t know her Ash from her Elbow? Well, with the biz facing a period of Brexit-induced uncertainty, lobbyists will be hoping they can turn her on to the delights of gigs, music biz awards ceremonies and festivals pretty swiftly in order that at least some of the industry’s concerns get a fair hearing.
So, let’s get cracking. Who can blag Karen in to her local festival, Bloodstock, next month? It could be the start of a beautiful friendship…
Mark Sutherland, Editor