Everybody talks about sticking it to the man, but who’s really doing it?

Fed up with local politicians taking money for doing nothing, Belfast punk Petesy Burns has teamed up with academic and author Colin Harper to deliver a stinging rebuke of Northern Ireland Assembly Members. And the song, resoundingly-titled ‘Smash The System’, is surely a rallying call in current times, as relevant almost anywhere around the world as it is in Northern Ireland.

Says Harper, who wrote the song, “The Northern Ireland Assembly collapsed in January 2017, the direct result of the Minister in charge of a botched heating scheme called RHI refusing to step aside while an enquiry took place. RHI will cost Northern Ireland taxpayers an estimated £490-500 million in wasted money.”

According to Harper, between January 2017 and October 2018, the 90 NI assembly members have received £10.25 million in salaries and an estimated £11.77 million in expenses. During that period, one assembly member has received £69,600 extra for his role as Speaker.

“He hasn’t spoken once”, says Harper. “Imagine if all of this was happening in London. It would be a national outrage.”

“I have no connection with punk whatsoever, but the medium felt right for getting the message out about this mess,” he continues. “I’d recently watched a documentary on 1970s Belfast punk legends, The Outcasts and was impressed by band member Petesy Burns’ compassionate anarchist ethos – kindness towards one’s fellow man – and by the energy of his performance. I got in touch and he was immediately on board.”

Credited to Colin Harper’s Bourgeois Fury, ‘Smash The System’ is available now from iTunes, Amazon and all usual digital platforms.

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