The musician, on track for his highest charting album ever with Further, which was released this week, has spoken out in a hard-hitting interview with music website NME about his anger on how Britain’s departure from the EU has stopped discussion about many other issues.
He said: “I could talk about this all day.
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“It’s very frustrating watching my wife and her colleagues battle, and it is a battle, everyday to help and save people.
“There are people slipping through the cracks in droves. It’s distressing because with ‘the B word’ [Brexit], all of the media attention is focussed towards that as well as adding to the hatefulness and near-mindless debate that it becomes this caucus race that goes round and round and round.
“All the while, we’ve got all of these other issues that are way more important – like homelessness and the state of mental health with young people. It’s just not even being discussed and that is criminal.”
He also says says the Government’s pre-occupation with Brexit has diverted attention away from issues such as knife crime and homelessness.
He added: “Our emotional constipation and seeing people living in bags in doorways has become normal. It’s not f****** normal. It’s f***** up.”
“It’s like the knife crime thing. The average age of someone carrying a knife or being a victim of knife crime is 16. That’s terrifying.
“But how many years of austerity have we had? It’s basically 16. The numbers add up. It’s all f*****.
“You’ve got society saying ‘no’ to them all the time, while at the same time advertising expensive trainers and cars and this wonderful life. I’m from that background and I fear poverty more than I do death. Not having choices or manoeuvrability.”
The proud Remain voter believes that the ongoing battle over Brexit has led to people in Sheffield and across the country being ignored.
“Nationally, I think everybody is,” he said. “I voted for Remain and I openly say that.
“But I despise how a certain part of our world dismisses the Leave vote with ‘Oh, they’re just racist f******’.
“The answer to it at the end of the day is that ‘Oh, we should be listening a lot more than we’re f****** talking’. It’s not the first time that we’ve seen nobheads in London whipping people up into a frenzy and it won’t be the last.”
And he also outlined his love for Sheffield – and the changes that have been seen around Kelham Island.
He told NME: “The thing I like about Sheffield is I love the trees, I love the parks, I love the Peak District, I love the fact that it’s the greenest city in the EU, plus the people’s resilience and sense of humour is what makes me stay. I can’t imagine living in London at all. I’d just disappear.”
“When I first started working there (Kelham Island) they didn’t have a security light so you’d either tread on glass or a syringe or on rubber from a contraceptive. You don’t really get that anymore, now it’s more likely to be a croissant or a latte with some bloke a ginger beard serving it to you.”
You can read the full interview HERE