Singer James Blunt ranted against classist and divisive politics in a colorful open letter Monday, after a British politician implied Blunt’s only successful because he’s from an upper class family.
Chris Bryant, a progressive figure in the Labour Party, is pushing for policies to allow every child equal access to the music industry, regardless of their socio-economic status. “I am delighted that Eddie Redmayne won [a Golden Globe for best actor], but we can’t just have a culture dominated by Eddie Redmayne and James Blunt and their ilk,” he said in an interview Friday.
Blunt responded Monday in an open letter published by The Guardian:
“You classist gimp. I happened to go to a boarding school. No one helped me at boarding school to get into the music business. I bought my first guitar with money I saved from holiday jobs (sandwich packing!).
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Every step of the way, my background has been AGAINST me succeeding in the music business. And when I have managed to break through, I was STILL scoffed at for being too posh for the industry.
And then you come along, looking for votes, telling working class people that posh people like me don’t deserve it, and that we must redress the balance. But it is your populist, envy-based, vote-hunting ideas which make our country crap, far more than me and my shit songs, and my plummy accent.
I got signed in America, where they don’t give a stuff about, or even understand what you mean by me and ‘my ilk,’ you prejudiced wazzock, and I worked my arse off. What you teach is the politics of jealousy. Rather than celebrating success and figuring out how we can all exploit it further as the Americans do, you instead talk about how we can hobble that success and ‘level the playing field. …”
Blunt signed the letter, “Up yours, James Cucking Funt.”
Bryant then responded with an open letter of his own, claiming he wasn’t attacking Blunt’s success, only pointing out that every kid should have a shot at the industry.
“I’m delighted you’ve done well for yourself,” Bryant wrote. “But it is really tough forging a career in the arts if you can’t afford the enormous fees for drama school, if you don’t know anybody who can give you a leg up, if your parents can’t subsidise you for a few years whilst you make your name and if you can’t afford to take on an unpaid internship.”
“You see the thing is I want everyone to take part in the arts,” he continued. “I don’t want any no-go areas for young people from less privileged backgrounds.”
The two continued the spat on Twitter Tuesday. “To help people at the bottom of the tree join those near the top, give them a ladder, not a bow and arrow,” Blunt tweeted at Bryant.
Bryant responded with another dig at Blunt’s wealth. “It’s quite difficult to lower a ladder from the top of the tree,” he tweeted. “Better to place it firmly on the ground so all can climb up.”
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