THE last battle in the war of words between musicians and government over Brexit has begun. The limitations imposed on musicians playing in Europe (and vice versa) following our departure from the European Union have prompted more musicians to speak out against the government in recent days.
First, Elton John accused the British government of being Philistines this weekend. Now Bruce Dickinson, lead singer of heavy metal band Iron Maiden has joined in the criticism.
What did he have to say?
Speaking to Sky’s Kate Burley, Dickinson argued that the music business is lacking in government.
“Don’t get me started on the government’s attitude towards the entertainment industry,” he told Burley. “We are probably one of the UK’s top exports… And yet we are sitting here. We can not do anything.
Wait a minute. Wasn’t Dickinson a supporter of Brexit?
Yes indeed. The Iron Maiden frontman (and skilled pilot) said it was no secret that he voted to leave in the 2016 referendum.
But his problem is with what has happened since. “The idea is that once you’ve done that, you come in and be sensitive to the relationships you have with people. ”
This, he suggested, did not happen. “So for now, all that blah of not being able to play in Europe and the Europeans of not being able to play here, work permits and all the rest of the garbage… Come on. Get together.
And he’s not the only one complaining?
No. Elton John was very scathing about the government’s attitude towards the music industry in an interview published on Sunday.
“I am furious with what the government did when Brexit happened,” he told the Observer. “They have nothing planned for the entertainment industry, and not just for musicians, actors and directors, but for the teams, the dancers, the people who make their living going to Europe. “We talked to Lord Strasburger about it, and we talked to Lord Frost, but we didn’t really end up with him,” John added. “It’s a nightmare. For young people starting a career, it’s crucifying.
What’s the problem anyway?
Brexit has imposed a whole host of restrictions and costs on musicians wishing to perform in EU countries. A study by the Incorporated Society of Musicians, the body that represents UK professional musicians, tour operators and manufacturers, found that 94% of those polled had been negatively affected by the UK’s post-Brexit trade deal with the EU.
Research also found that less than one in 10 music companies said government guidelines were “adequate” to help deal with current restrictions.
“People like me can afford to go to Europe because we can get people to fill out forms and get visas,” Elton John said, “but what drives me crazy is that the industry entertainment brings this country £ 111 billion a year and we’ve just been thrown out.