UK musicians call for Brexit to be halted

UK musicians call for Brexit to be halted


norman lebrecht

December 13, 2018

A coalition of music organisations and individuals have written to Parliament, appealing for a way to be found out of the present impasse.

They say:

No-one voted for this situation, whether they voted Leave or Remain. It is critical to find a way out of this mess, and therefore we ask you to examine alternative options to maintain our current influence and freedom to trade.

The signatories include the Musicians Union, the Music Managers Forum,the Music Producers Guild, British Academy of Songwriters, Composers & Authors and more.

Read here.



  • Ted says:

    Brexit is a bad idea.

    • Karl says:

      It’s democracy in action. I believe there is a provision for Britain to rejoin if they don’t like Brexit. I read this : The president of the European Commission has said he would like Britain to rejoin the European Union after Brexit – using the little-known treaty clause “Article 49”.

      • Maria says:

        They’d say that anyhow. They want us to stay as they need our money.

        • Brettermeier says:

          Maria: “They want us to stay as they need our money.”

          Wishful thinking. But good luck, of course.

          Karl: “I believe there is a provision for Britain to rejoin if they don’t like Brexit.”

          You believe wrong. Article 49 is for members of the EU. And that won’t be GB after the Brexit. Furthermore, GB cannot invoke this article unilaterally. And, as I said so many times: The EU cannot allow this try before you buy behavior. If there’d be an easy way, we would have these gormless exit talks every other week.

          Game theory, anyone?

          • Karl says:

            From Politico:
            If the U.K. changes its mind about Brexit once it has left the EU, it can reapply for membership “like a third country,” the bloc’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said Monday.

            I don’t see any reason why they would not be let back in.

          • Brettermeier says:

            ““like a third country,””

            Yes, like Turkey. 🙂

            “I don’t see any reason why they would not be let back in.”

            And that’s what amazes me. Let’s try it again.

            Let’s assume we have 100 agents that agreed to the same treaty. Now we have five of them who complain now and then about how unfair this same treaty is for them (for whatever reason that might be). Now one of them decides to back off this treaty, hoping for a better, special one afterwards. We now haggle with this ONE agent for TWO YEARS. After these TWO YEARS, bringing uncertainty to people, companies and markets alike, this ONE agent feels it might actually not be better off and hopes to get back to in.

            What would happen, if this agent could just withdraw his exit? It tells all the other members that they can wreak havoc and haggle for a better (for them, and for them only) and if it fails,there wouldn’t be any repercussions (-> “Moral hazard”).

            If Brexit does not happen, we’ll have an Italoxit, Polxit within the minute. And then we’d have the next two years of haggling fun. It doesn’t matter if one thinks if Brexit is good or bad. Right now, the EU has to protect itself from this nonsense.

            But let’s assume, there’s no Brexit. What again prevents them to file for a divorce next month? Just let it all heat up a bit more and try again? No repercussions, remember?

          • Saxon Broken says:

            Except for two things:
            (1) Britain and the EU would have to terms. Many existing “opt-outs” may not be agreed.
            (2) Each EU country needs to agree. It just needs one member to veto a country’s entry for the country not to enter.

    • Brettermeier says:

      “Brexit is a bad idea.”

      Of course it is, but that’s what you voted for. Now we all have to deal with the consequences. If there would be an easy way out of the (Br)exit process, Poland, Hungary etc. would start their respective exit each new blue moon in hope for cherry picking the EU buffet. And if it fails, they just take it back?

      The EU cannot allow that. And GB cannot just ignore the result of the vote, otherwise they’ll risk an even deeper divide and risk faith in democracy all together.

      Using simple majorities for the vote was impressively gormless, either.

      • Alexander Hall says:

        What is just as nauseating is the way one half of the country (the Brexiteers) now insists that the vote on 23 June 2016 was cast in stone for ever more and must not be called in question. The notion that people might have changed their minds is not even allowed as a theoretical possibility. Those self-same individuals who argued that Brexit was all about the British parliament regaining its sovereignty (so cruelly removed by all those nasty scheming and conspiratorial Eurocrats in Brussels) but who then quickly rushed to stop any attempts for parliamentarians to have any say in the process are now moving heaven and earth to deny the people a second vote. What are they so terrified of? That the sovereign people might actually want something different? Is that really a demonstration of the democratic principle?

        • Brettermeier says:

          Of course you may change your mind. But it’s just not only about you anymore. Like in a marriage. You might want to think to be better off with the rest of the world, so you file for divorce with Agnes. Than you haggle for two years with Agnes about who gets what. Then you realize that you also forfeit your “mating rights” with Agnes (who told you that time and time again, but you wouldn’t listen). That’s when you say: “Oh wait, then let’s do not get this divorce, I didn’t know we can’t shag anymore.”

          People are murdered for less.

          “Is that really a demonstration of the democratic principle?”

          Yes. 49% can be ruled by 51%. That’s why for important decisions, you would want a 2/3 majority.

  • Andrew says:

    Subsidy junkies for continuity remain. We voted to leave.

  • Alan says:

    A little less than two years ago Teresa May was elected leader of the Conservative party with 60% of the vote. Last night she had to basically stand again and be voted upon. No one batted an eyelid. A little more than two years ago Britain voted 52%-48% for Brexit. And to vote on that again would be an affront to democracy.

    Go figure.

    • MacroV says:

      Would it? A lot of people didn’t really understand what they were voting for. Many others want the good parts of EU membership but not what they consider the negative. And the other EU members aren’t having it.

      Would it be such a bad thing for a country – as people often do – admit they were wrong and decide to keep things and pull out of an ill-advised move?

      • Alan says:

        No it wouldn’t. I was being somewhat sarcastic. If MPs can change their mind on May then why can’t the people be asked if they have changed their minds on Brexit, especially as it has become such a total mess.

        • Brettermeier says:

          “why can’t the people be asked if they have changed their minds on Brexit”

          Because it’s not just about the Brits. They decided to leave – and that’s ok. But people and markets like certainty. The Brits brought uncertainty to not just GB but also the EU. You cannot just wreak havoc and then go like: Never mind, lads, we just stay!

          If the Brits now realize the Brexit is a stupid idea: Congratulations. Too late for that now, maybe think a tad more before rushing to the ballots next time?

          • Saxon Broken says:

            I am sorry, but your claim is not what the EU rules state. Britain can rescind its decision to leave at any moment within the two year leaving process. It does not require the agreement of the other EU countries.

            Whether it is sensible to write the rules in that way really does not matter.

        • Andy says:

          Why? Have you changed your mind?

      • Maria says:

        That is very insulting to those who voted to leave – 17.5 million people, which is hardly a handful and nearly four times the population of Southern Ireland. People are not stupid and they don’t deserve to be told all the time that they didn’t know what they were doing. The Government made it very clear what they were doing when they called the referendum, and a brochure went through each and everyone’s door – and the question was do you want to stay or do you want to leave. That was it. And many chose not to vote at all and now harping on about the result. It never said anything about a deal, and many assumed we would just go onto WTO tariffs. Instead Project Fear sets in, newspapers go into overdrive, and the rolling news whips it all up with Tony Blair in the middle of it all. The EU was never going to make it easy for Britain to leave.

        • Brettermeier says:

          “People are not stupid and they don’t deserve to be told all the time that they didn’t know what they were doing.”

          First you say that people are not stupid (I disagree agree, but that’s just my observation.) Then you say they knew what they were doing (sth. stupid).

          “And many chose not to vote at all and now harping on about the result.”

          That’s not in keeping with your claim that “People are not stupid” now, is it?

          “The EU was never going to make it easy for Britain to leave.”

          Didn’t you just write: “It never said anything about a deal, and many assumed we would just go onto WTO tariffs.” That’s the single most simple solution of all: We just sit and wait. But somehow the Brits wanted special treatment in regards to trade with the EU.

          So please, dear Brits: Stop whining about not getting a farewell present. It was your choice to leave. We’re still sad.

        • Saxon Broken says:


          Actually, the Brexit people promised that we would get to choose which bits of the EU we wanted and which we did not. They promised it was just a matter of making the EU understand our demands. They also promised that the rest of the world was queueing up to give us trade deals.

          Only Venezuela, North Korea and Yemen trade according to WTO rules.

          I guess the fantasists have been found out.

      • Novagerio says:

        “A lot of people didn’t really understand what they were voting for” – in other words, let’s have another referendum until the result is right. What does that tell us about democracy vs Multi-state federalism?…

      • Chris says:

        I agree with your first sentence, but would correct it (minimally), to read ‘A lot of people were not really TOLD what they were voting for.’
        No-one who was leading the Brexit argument could enlighten anyone as to what they wanted to happen – there was far too much of ‘We think this….’ ‘We hope that….’ and so on.

  • Rogerio says:

    Brexit is like a collective skate-board run down a balustrade.
    There are two possible outcomes;
    1 – Elation mixed with pride and a sense of accomplishment
    2 – Ball-smashing/Face-slamming
    Either way, others enjoy watching it happen…

  • Andrew Matthews says:

    I think we all want a way out of the current situation. The problem is that there are diametrically opposed views as to how that should be achieved. In order to satisfy the democratic majority who voted to leave, regardless of any future relationships with the EU the protesting musicians petition for, the UK has got to effectively completely remove itself from the terms of all treaties, policies and representation in the EU structure. Once that has been done then a series of renegotiations will have to start with EU member states to decide what new terms can be agreed without the UK surrendering any sovereignty to any EU jurisdiction. I think the desire by the musicians to “retain the current influence” and “freedom to trade” with the EU after Brexit is unlikely to happen.
    Whilst I voted to remain I have tried to express the reality as fairly as I can. I cannot speak for brexit voters as I don’t know what vision they all had for the future relationship between the UK and the EU particularly in relation to the points now raised by the musicians.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Andrew writes: “without the UK surrendering any sovereignty to any EU jurisdiction”

      You just don’t get it. The EU will never allow any non-EU country any jurisdiction over the EU. The Brexit position is that a deal requires the EU to concede sovereignty to us since Britain isn’t going to concede anything to them. The EU position is that sovereignty is pooled between the EU states: this is Margaret Thatcher’s major achievement at the European level, since otherwise the single market can’t function.

      The choice is to be a full member, in which case we have a share of sovereignty and oversite of the decisions (including the veto). Or having the EU decisions made without any input from us, and those decision to be largely binding on us.

      If Britain as a country withdraws, anyone who trades with the EU will sign up to EU regulations anyway, as will most of our institutions. Any “independence” will be largely illusionary.

      • Andrew Matthews says:

        Saxon Broken. I do get it. I explained what the Brexit aspiration means in the long term. The UK has to have a relationship with the EU block after it has left. That relationship in brexit terms cannot allow the UK to submit to any EU jurisdiction. Otherwise in Brexiteers minds the UK will be subject to non UK law. I never mentioned anything about what the EU block may or may not allow. Please do not quote me out of context.

  • Democracy in action.

    The European nobles and aristocrats who said the people would never be able to rule themselves, that they would be fooled by con men and charlatans… they must be laughing their decapitated heads off now.

    • Alexander Hall says:

      I’m surprised you haven’t already been dragged off to the guillotine by the guardians of political correctness. To suggest that the people (oh, the precious people!) might actually have made a mistake, or got it wrong, or want to express a second view (why else do we have elections at regular and irregular (2015, 2017) intervals?) – oh, that is truly unthinkable and so undemocratic!

  • SVM says:

    I did *not* join the calls for a 2nd referendum back in 2016, but I have come round to the view that it would *not* be an affront to democracy, because:

    1. the 52% figure represents 52% of people who turned up to vote and were eligible to do so, *not* 52% of the electorate, and certainly *not* 52% of “the public” — when you account for people who did not vote, the figure is considerably less than a majority, and would thus have been deemed inquorate under the rules of referenda in direct democracies and countries which have constitutional provisions/codifications for how referenda bind the government (in many countries which have constitutional provisions for decisions by referendum, the minimum is set well above 50%, *and* they have a further minimum percentage based on the electorate as a whole, not just those who actually voted… the result can be people against the proposed reform/change tactically *not* voting, to render the vote inquorate, but that works only if lots of people really are against it);

    2. I do not know the details, but I understand that a lot of British expats who should have been eligible to vote were denied a vote in the 2016 referendum — it is likely many of them would have voted “Remain”;

    3. one of the “Leave” campaigns breached spending limits, which *is* an affront to democracy (because spending limits exist to ensure that the wealthier campaigns cannot have a disproportionate influence), and may well have pushed the “Leave” side over the 50% line;

    4. the 2016 referendum made no distinction between the various supranational entities and treaties (e.g.: the European Economic Area; the European Court of Justice; &c.) related to, but not coterminous with, the EU, rendering the whole referendum question incredibly crude, the result being this chaos of “soft” vs “hard” Brexit disagreements.

    If I were in charge, I would propose to Brussels an immediate cancellation of Brexit on the following two conditions:

    a) the Common Agricultural Policy be reformed fundamentally — it is an absurd system and a real drain on EU finances — to focus far more on protecting the environment (e.g.: preventing urban sprawl through the development of a legally binding pan-EU green-belt policy; encouraging tree-planting and discouraging drainage of marshes/swamps; encouraging organic farming; &c.);

    b) the EU stop the absurd shuttling between Strasbourg and Brussels (which is expensive and which nobody, except some French MEPs, wants any more), and select one city (probably Brussels) in which to convene the European parliament &c.; and

    c) the EU undertake *never* to admit Turkey or any other country which is manifestly not in Europe geographically and culturally.

    Obviously, the first two conditions would make the French government *very* unhappy, but fulfilling them would be a win-win for almost everyone else. And, I reckon the French could be made to accept such conditions… at the very least, it is worth a try. That way, the whole Brexit saga will have contributed positively to reforming the EU on the *real* issues, rather than all the scare-mongering over immigration.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Er…beside the fact that Britain can not just “demand terms”. Some facts:

      (a) Some member states like the Common Agricultural Policy. Currently, each country is allowed to divert a proportion of the subsidy to ” environmental issues”. This proportion is increasing.

      (b) In the scheme of things, a minor hassle. Almost everything actually happens in Brussels…

      (c) Turkey is never going to join the EU. As a full member, Britain could veto it (as can any other full member).

  • Andy says:

    We voted to leave the EU. Which means withdrawing from the Treaties of The European Union. So Yes, it is what we voted for.