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Billy Bragg's first solo release in four years is a six track mini album called Bridges Not Walls which concludes with this elegy for the way things used to be, viewed through the eyes of the disenfranchised.

Full English Brexit is an exercise in empathy - not with an enemy, but with a section of society that sees the world very differently to Britain's leading Left-wing activist folk singer. This is not an ironic mocking of the people who voted to leave the EU; it's a nod of honest, heartfelt understanding, sung entirely in the voice of a "leave" voter who perceived the EU referendum as a chance to exercise some control over a multi-cultural new world.

"It's just that there's so many of them," worries the voice of Brexit, "that I fear what will become of us. I'm not racist. All I want is to make things how they used to be."

This song might appear parochial to those who feel unaffected by Britain's decision to leave the European Union, but the issues raised are far from unique to the United Kingdom, like feeling concerned that your home town is no longer your own because you are surrounded by people speaking foreign languages.

"Change is strange," says a voice that could be one of your own elderly relatives, "and nobody's listening to me".

Billy Bragg makes a conscious decision here not to belittle or criticise. There is no subtext. He recognises that the Brexit voter's feelings of concern and dissatisfaction are real and valid. And with the decision already irrevocable, the truth is that we must now all stand together and build a future where no one feels disconnected from their community. Remember, the title of this album is Bridges not Walls. There is nothing now to be gained by abusing the voters who committed Britain to an uncertain future.

Full English Brexit ends on a fade-out, which can often indicate a laziness or lack of imagination on behalf of the performer. But here it seems oddly apt - Britain will exit the European Union in 2019 not with a bang but with a whimper. A nation's problems cannot be solved overnight and when the time comes, there will be more questions than answers about the future. An era of European unity will peter out like an ellipsis - like the fade-out on a mournful song in the voice of a lost generation leaving its final mark on history.

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About the curator: Jon Ewing

After graduating from the University of Keele in England with a degree in Politics and American Studies, Jon worked as editor of a music and entertainment magazine before spending several years as a freelance writer and, with the advent of the internet, a website designer, developer and consultant. He lives in Reading, home to one of the world's most famous and long-running music festivals, which he has attended every year since 1992.

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