Andy Flannagan: The songsmith putting the faith back into politics

Friday 9th October 2009

Jeremy Dillon spoke to socialist singer/songwriter ANDY FLANNAGAN about his new role in politics

Andy Flannagan
Andy Flannagan

London-based Andy Flannagan is a singer/songwriter, worship leader and author well known on the Christian scene. Now he has another string to his bow as he was recently appointed Director of the Christian Socialist Movement. Jeremy Dillon quizzed the songsmith-turned-social activist about socialism, the MPs' expenses row and lobbying politicians through music.

Jeremy: Tell us about the Christian Socialist Movement. What does your job involve?

Andy: CSM is a group of people who are passionate about left-sided politics. We're affiliated with the Labour Party, a way of supporting and resourcing people who want to be involved in that adventure. . . passionate about issues of social justice; issues that are at the core of why the Labour Party was started. I guess we're encouraging people not just to shout from the sidelines, but to get stuck in on the inside, to be Labour councillors, to be involved politically, to stand up and represent people and get to know people. We're seeing that have an impact on people around the country. It's really spectacular.

Jeremy: What kind of contact do you have with the Prime Minister or other members of Parliament?

Andy: There are various places that I meet people. I'm based at Labour HQ, and also at Parliament, meeting with Labour MPs. I do have some meetings at Number 10 Downing Street and basically just trying to be there to build relationship with folks and being involved in conversations. We have a large number of people that want to make their voices heard, and it's my privilege at times to represent them. . . to represent those who can't speak for themselves, for Kingdom values in the midst of legislation.

Jeremy: The MPs' expenses row, it could be argued, has damaged politics. How important is it for Christians to get involved to put things right?

Andy: I remember running for election last year and moving around the estates in my ward, north of Brixton. I was just knocking on people's doors and hearing stories, appalling stories of some of the pain and the destitution that some of them are living in. I was aware that no one knocks on these doors and never makes them feels connected to the bigger picture. That alienation is at the heart of so much of the gang culture and knife crime stuff, and I realised that I probably wouldn't be knocking either if I wasn't after the vote. It's a real servant role, and the obvious place for Christians to be involved.

Andy Flannagan: The songsmith putting the faith back into politics

The MPs I work with are very hard-working, and I would like to see them better resourced. I'm not excusing it (claiming on plasma screen TVs, etc), but we have to see this row in the bigger picture of how we resource our representatives [in government].

Jeremy: How can people get involved in politics? Is it easy? You recently ran in the Lambeth by-election didn't you?

Andy: You know, it's actually incredibly easy. All of the mainstream political parties have their own websites where people can join online, and you'll be amazed how quickly you get wired into policy discussion. This is a massive time of opportunity, as membership of all the main parties is decreasing. Any new energy, any new life that comes from folks is snapped up immediately.

Jeremy: How do you promote the work of CSM without alienating Christians of other political persuasions?

Andy: We form an umbrella group called Christians In Politics, which is made up of ourselves, the Conservative Christian Fellowship and the Lib Dem Christian Fellowship. We often speak at events together and we take each others' leaflets with us to places. We firmly believe that the Kingdom is bigger than any other political ideology.

Jeremy: What does the future hold for Andy Flannagan with regard to songwriting?

Andy: The job I do is part-time, so there's still plenty of time for songwriting and for singing and for worship leading which is great, and often the two roles coincide. The worship stuff that's going on at Parliament is really exciting. It's really good for people to pray for that. Once a month, we have a worship gathering that goes on underneath the House of Commons, which is amazing. I'm still writing a lot. The songs I've written over the last three or four years have been the most potent pieces of communication I've ever done. When we use them, people are really challenged. I've had chances to do stuff in the States and Australia, and I'm going back to Australia in September 2009. I'll be recording new material in the new year and releasing an album, but the priority is with the political stuff. I really believe that the lobbying of the 21st century will be a lobbying of heart, and music does that. I'm hoping there's a whole new generation of young politicians who will be musicians who will end up in Parliament, and it'll become a more creative place with more of a heart.

For more information about Andy Flannagan's music and how to get free downloads of some of his worship songs, please visit For more info on the CSM, go to, and if you're interested,

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
About Jeremy Dillon
Jeremy Dillon lives in Stoke-on-Trent and has a BA in music/media studies.


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