Vaizey: 'Arts can bring the nation together'

Vaizey: 'Arts can bring the nation together'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has said “the arts can bring us together” as a nation following the “uncertainty and division” caused by the EU Referendum.

Speaking to the London Evening Standard, Vaizey said that the arts were the “lifeblood” of creative industries and urged the UK to “seize on our strengths and look for opportunities”.

“In times of uncertainty and division it’s the arts that bring us together,” he said. “London 2012 united the nation and the world looked on in awe of our creativity, courage and character. Now is the time to come together once more.”

He added that the arts were “in many cases, they are what the rest of the world listens to, and what they know best about us”.

“They are naturally outward-looking, collaborative and internationalist. What they say matters,” he said. “They represent, after all, our most successful industries, and what they produce is the envy of the world. So it’s vitally important that the arts are given a voice in Brexit Britain, and I will be calling on every Conservative leadership candidate to ensure that’s the case.”

Some actors told the newspaper of their sadness at the vote to leave Europe. Golden Globe-winning actor Stanley Tucci said: “It’s a Mexit, it’s a mess really. I don’t understand why the British people have reached this decision, it saddens me.”

While actor Danny Mays said: “Culturally, economically, spiritually, the whole thing has gone to pot.”

Authors have also told The Bookseller of their despair at the outcome.

Philip Pullman, president of the Society of Authors, called the result "dreadful". He said: "The politicians responsible for what Sadiq Khan called Project Hate will be judged very harshly by history. Everything in Britain, including the book trade, will be worse off for this; I can't see any good coming out of it at all."

While writer Cathy Cassidy was equally concerned, saying: "…It's a bit like finding yourself in the middle of a Dystopian novel, a badly written one with an implausible but terrifying baddie and that feeling that you're heading for a very scary ending.”