Brexit and music: Theme and Variations

The musician and composer, Howard Goodall, has written a very instructive piece with the above title. As most of it is factually indisputable, it makes for an uncomfortable read.

He starts:

A few weeks ago I had an encounter with a man at a currency exchange desk at Heathrow airport and tweeted the conversation thus:

“Nice bloke at Heathrow currency exchange desk asks whether Brexit will be good for my industry. When I said no, disastrous, he said he asks everyone the same question: and Every. Single. Person gives the same answer. But a bunch of Old Etonian conmen think they know better.” *

It is my most read tweet ever (8500+ retweets, 18500+ likes and 1.67m impressions). One of the responses was from Tory MP, Nadine Dorries who asked, courteously, why Brexit would be disastrous for my line of work. This is my answer.

Aside from the fact that he fails to make the point that Brexiter Dorries, if she’d thought about it at all, should not have had to ask with such incredulity why Brexit would be disastrous, and one or two other niggles, I think it is well worth reading in its entirety. If you’re pushed for time, it is basically yet another instance of Brexit self harm.

The most important paragraph is probably this one:

[The UK] is the second biggest provider of music to the world after the USA. Music is of enormous benefit to us as a country. That is a fact, not an opinion. Nor is it special pleading. For a modern, developed country to deliberately, willfully strangle one of its lead exporters is bordering on insane. Indeed, the Creative Industries as a whole are the fastest-growing sector in our economy, worth last year just under £100bn to our national coffers (to put that in context, in 2016 the NHS cost us £115bn).

So Brexit puts useless barriers in the way of a prosperous export industry.

And we do not have too many of those.

Howard Goodall may be a musician – but I’m not at all surprised he’s shouting.

* As a concluding note on old Etonian conmen; you can help fund a private prosecution against one member in particular of the Brexit politicians, who knowingly and repeatedly lied about UK spending on EU membership and whose actions can thus be considered to constitute grounds for a criminal prosecution.


  1. Ivan Horrocks -

    Peter. I’m just catching up on the blogs of the past week. A really interesting bunch as usual. Regarding this one, I think it quite clear now that any Brexiteer who actually believed there would be any economic benefit from leaving the EU is now leaving in cloud cuckoo land if they still think that.

    Insofar as Gove, Fox, Johnson and the rest of the Westminster gang of Brexiteers are concerned – including May – it’s clear that all the whole project boils down to now is exiting the EU. Period. Any claims to any form of benefit from doing so have been abandoned – as they have by the Brexiteer press. It’s simply about being free from ‘Johny Foreigner’ – as my grandfather (a lifelong Mail reader) used to disparagingly refer to anyone he deemed not English.

    Of course, as far as the Brexiteers in government are concerned this has a great deal to do with being free to pursue an even ranker, super-exploitative, and cruel version of neoliberalism – a variant on a par with that which their Republican cousins across the Atlantic have foisted on US citizens whenever they have the power to do so (as now under Trump). Of course, that’s not meant to imply that the EU isn’t also a neoliberal promoting entity that can inflict great suffering on its citizens (witness the treatment of Greece) but simply to recognise that as with everything in life, there are degrees of severity and idealogical zealotry and the Brexiteers in our government and parliament are at the extreme – ‘very nasty’ – end of that spectrum. Ultimately therefore, they are happy to inflict hurt on this country and most of the citizens of it just a long as they can walk away with their ideoligical ‘purity’ intact.

    1. Andy Crow -

      “…. just as long as they can walk away with their ideological ‘purity’ intact.”

      I always thought it had rather more to do with the money than ideological purity. But maybe I’m just cynical.

      As an ideology it is somewhat inconsistent to demand small government when it is only the rule of law which keeps their assets (and perhaps their lives) safe from less well connected predators.

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