Black History Month: The Errol Brown Story – It Started with a Plagiarised Track! (2022) 

When we think thick of ‘Hot Chocolate’ – images of a comforting winter drink spring to mind – perhaps enhanced with cream, marshmallows and all kinds of extra condiments designed to make the experience more fulfilling! What is generally not inspired is the encountering of a rabid, neo-conservative form of thinking that borders on the fascistic and which stems from the thinking underlying European imperialist expansion, the institution of slavery and the rape and murder of millions from the 16th century onwards! Although, of course, it could be construed as a subtle irony that ‘chocolate’ was one of those products discovered by the marauding ‘White’ Europeans whilst devastating the indigenous peoples of South America!  

When a twelve-year-old Errol Brown arrived in the UK in 1955 – he and his family (classified as ‘immigrants’ by the Conservative Party that allowed them entry) – benefitted extensively from the Welfare State, free education, Council Housing and the NHS – all key facets of British Socialism paid for by collective taxation. At this time in his life, Errol Brown found it perfectly acceptable to benefit from the collective good-well of others without a second thought. Errol Brown – as a twenty-one–year-old Black man – was apparently impressed by the 1964 election victory of ‘White’ Peter Griffiths in Smethwick (Staffordshire) – Griffiths had campaigned as a Tory parliamentary candidate under the banner ‘If You Want a Nigger for a Neighbour – Vote Labour!’  Just four-years later (in 1969), Errol Brown would ‘plagiarise’ John Lennon’s track ‘Give Peace a Chance’ and had to rely upon the negotiating skills of his record company to prevent John Lennon’s management from ‘suing’ him. The story put-out by Errol Brown was that John Lennon ‘personally’ agreed to let him release a slightly different version of his track.  

A mere ten-years after this incident, Errol Brown had firmly put in the past any ideas of ‘giving peace a chance’ and had firmly nailed his political colours to the mast of the far right-wing Margaret Thatcher and her warmongering and racist ideology! Errol Brown – as a Black man – fully supported Margaret Thatcher’s ‘White’ ideology that the far right (through its racist violence and intimidation) was merely ‘expressing a point of view’ and ‘exercising free speech’ – whilst the victims of this racist aggression were acting ‘illegally’ and in their protestations acting like ‘terrorists’! Whilst making money out of John Lennon’s ‘Give Peace a Chance’ – Errol Brown enjoyed supporting Thatcher invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982 – demonstrating his approval by performing at a number of Tory Party Conferences! Errol Brown, no doubt, is a version of ‘Hot Chocolate’ which leaves a bitter taste in the mouth! 

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