Richard Hawley says Brexit to blame for diverting attention away from Sheffield knife crime, mental health and homelessness issues
Sheffield singer Richard Hawley has blamed Brexit for diverting attention away from ‘more important’ issues like mental health, knife crime and homelessness in the city.
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.
“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*****.
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“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