Does a sprinkling of stardust influence voter behaviour? No, says academic research, but leading lights from the world of art, film and literature – including Mumbai-born Anish Kapoor – appealed to the British public on Friday to remain in the EU.
As rival camps prepare to despatch millions of leaflets in Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu to Indian-origin voters before the June 23 referendum on Britain’s future in the European Union, nearly 300 actors, authors and leaders of Britain’s creative industries issued an appeal through a letter to The Daily Telegraph.
It said: “The referendum forces us to look in the mirror and ask ourselves: what kind of nation do we want to be? Are we outward-looking and open to working with others to achieve more? Or do we close ourselves off from our friends and neighbours at a time of increasing global uncertainty?
“From the smallest gallery to the biggest blockbuster, many of us have worked on projects that would never have happened without EU funding or collaborating across borders. Britain is not just stronger in the EU, it is more imaginative and creative. Our global creative success would be severely weakened by walking away.”
Signatories included Anoushka Shankar, Benedict Cumberbatch, Danny Boyle, Jude Law, Helena Bonham-Carter, Hilary Mantel, Ian McEwan, Jatinder Verma, Keira Knightley, Michael Morpurgo, Asif Kapadia, Nitin Sawhney and Carol Ann Duffy.
The letter said: “And what would ‘Out’ really mean? Leaving the EU would be a leap into the unknown for millions of people in the UK who work in the creative industries, and for the millions more at home and abroad who benefit from the vibrancy of Britain’s cultural sector.
“From the Bard to Bowie, British creativity inspires the world. We believe being part of the EU bolsters Britain’s leading role on the world stage. Let’s not become an outsider shouting from the wings.”
Prime Minister David Cameron visited London’s Abbey Road Studios on Friday and said: “When it comes to creativity, British talent and expertise has made this country the envy of the world. Whether it is music or film, art or video games, the UK leads Europe. More than most, this is a sector that thrives on being open to the world outside.
“The results of Creative Industries Federation’s survey are clear: we are better off in a reformed European Union than out on our own. To leave would be a leap in the dark.”