“Question Time” by Santan Dave
Shout out to Society of Sound reader, Musa Mirza, for putting Dave on our radar!
“A question for the new prime minister
How'd you have a heart so sinister?
How are you so wasteful when people are dying in Somalia
Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya?
A question for the new prime minister
And please, tell me if I'm being narrowminded
But how do we spend so much money on defence
And weapons to wage war when the NHS is dying?
I've got a question for the new prime minister
At Grenfell Tower, your response was ridiculous
You hid like a coward behind your 5 million
Dodged responsibility and acted like you're innocent."
Where’s The Meaning?
For those unfamiliar with UK Parliament, Question Time is a formal opportunity for the Members of Parliament (“MP”) and House of Lords to directly question government ministers on matters for which they are responsible. Perhaps the most popular session is the Prime Minister’s Question Time, which occurs every Wednesday from 12-12:30 PM while Parliament is in session.
While formulaic in execution, Question Time is also full of lambast and vigor as MPs frequently make loud and emotional pleas, causing the parliamentary chambers to feel more like a stadium of passionate sports fans than a group of legislators, with MPs routinely howling or growling their encouragement or dissent after questions are posed.
For context, check out last weeks Prime Minister ("PM") Question Time:
Backed by his signature melancholy synths and lyrically packed verses, Santan Dave hosts his own “Question Time” posing pointed questions directly at the current Prime Minister, Theresa May, the former PM, David Cameron, and even the head of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn. The Labour Party is a center-left political party in the Parliament controlling the second highest amount of seats (259) in the UK Parliament. Full MP breakdown by Party here.
Santan Dave’s emotional pleas focus on issues of war, defense spending, healthcare, the response to Grenfell Tower, and beyond as he speaks to practical policy prescriptions and emotion alike. Just as MP’s use Question Time to pressure officials to present justifications for current policy positions and act on issues of importance to them, Santan Dave wields his building influence on London’s underground rap scene to posit his own questions to UK’s leaders.
Does the question time model of posing direct policy questions to Prime Ministers and leading political figures help drive clarity to the public and legislators on policy direction?
Can media help present community issues to effectively galvanize political leadership and the public alike to act on issues? What are effective channels for people to convey their policy prerogatives and frustrations in a targeted, but open way?