Folk punk legend and left wing activist Billy Bragg bonded with the US mega star Taylor Swift backstage at last week’s NME Awards.

“You might think we were chalk and cheese,” Bragg wrote on social media. And he’s not wrong. Bragg was raised in a working class household in Essex, England. He made his name in the early 1980s playing raw folk originals, which applied the spirit of punk to raising awareness of social inequalities.

Swift’s father is a stock broker and she was fast tracked in the Nashville country pop machine at a young age. She’s gone on to fully embrace mainstream pop sounds, while becoming an international brand.

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Bragg and Swift at the NME Awards

However, Swift has publicised her political stance in recent years. She supported two Democratic candidates in the US 2018 midterm elections. Last year, she posted a letter to the Tennessean Senator Lamar Alexander asking him to vote in favour of the Equality Act, which would “protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in the workplace, in their homes and in schools.”

Bragg also sympathises with Swift’s fight to gain ownership of her masters from her former label Big Machine. “I admire her willingness to take a stand on issues and her struggle to own her back catalogue resonates with me, as I underwent a similar struggle in the 1980s,” he wrote.

Watch: Billy Bragg talks about his respect for Taylor Swift

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Bragg is now in his 60s, but he hangs on to his activist bent. His 2019 political pamphlet The Three Dimensions of Freedom names accountability as a dimension of freedom. It’s sorely lacking in politics and online discourse, says Bragg, which must be remedied if we’re to truly attain freedom.

The meeting occurred just before the two went onstage to present Glastonbury co-organiser Emily Eavis with the God-like Genius Award. “At the very last minute – literally as I walked into the backstage area – I discovered that I would be co-presenting with Taylor Swift,” wrote Bragg.

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