"Brexit has come to test the patience of the British public"
Damon Albarn has lent his name to the backing of a public-led forum in order to ‘break the Brexit deadlock’.
With the government still in disarray as the countdown to Brexit marches on, the Blur and Gorillaz frontman is among the signatories in a new letter calling for a new initiative that puts power in the hands of citizens rather than politicians – to ‘bring Britain together rather than falling apart in constitutional chaos’.
“Looking on, we cannot see how a majority can be found for any proposition in parliament: some want to remain, some want no deal, some want Norway, some want to vote again,” reads the letter on The Guardian. “The same rifts exist across the UK. Anger and resentment are growing, splitting families, communities and our country.
“Without a new intervention, the toxic culture which has infected public life will irrevocably damage democracy and the future for us all.”
The plan that the collective have suggested would take eight weeks to organise, with the forum consisting a randomly chosen representative group of up to 500 members of the public. They would then make suggestions to MPs based upon the evidence and facts presented to them on a rage of subjects.
They continued: “A forum led by the public, not by politicians. People talking and listening to each other, not shouting and arguing on or offline, to find common ground. Not superseding MPs by judging the outcome, but offering recommendations on how Brexit should be decided, to help break this deadlock and start to heal the nation’s bitter divisions.
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“Brexit has come to test the patience of the British public. To make progress we should instead trust their wisdom and use it to resolve our differences, deepen our democracy and unite us all.”
Other people to support the suggestion include Rowan Williams, Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Jonathan Coe, Ian McEwan, Caitlin Moran and leading academics.
This comes after Albarn said that he felt partly ‘responsible’ for the Brexit vote.
“The shock I felt that morning [of the referendum result] was indicative of the blasé attitude that we, as Remainers, had felt prior to that day,” he said. “There was a massive and patronising assumption that the rest of the country felt the way we did. So that was my lesson.”
Albarn also voiced his hope that his band’s music could help ‘rekindle’ conversation. “We lost the ability to talk between the tribes. So that’s the hope: That after all this crap we’ve been through, we can actually ask each other the meaningful questions – Who are we? And what do we want to become?”
The frontman was also among the likes of Rita Ora, Jarvis Cocker and Ed Sheeran in signing an open letter to Prime Minister Theresa May in protest of Brexit on behalf of musicians – arguing that it will turn Britain into a ‘cultural jail‘. The letter was drafted by Sir Bob Geldof and also signed by Brian Eno, Bobby Gillespie, Johnny Marr, Nick Mason, Alan McGee, William Orbit, Neil Tennant, Roger Taylor, Paul Simon and Sting