Belfast Telegraph

Michael Sheen: The public are disillusioned with the two-party political system

The Welsh actor led a successful bid for Cardiff to host the Homeless World Cup this summer.

Michael Sheen (Homeless World Cup/PA)
Michael Sheen (Homeless World Cup/PA)

Michael Sheen has said that the local election results show the public has become “disillusioned” with the tribal politics of the two-party political system.

The Hollywood actor and activist, who was galvanised by his hometown’s vote for Brexit, said the political events of the past two years had left voters “a bit jaded”.

Sheen, 50, suggested people were now looking for “something different”, adding: “People ask me: ‘Do you want to go into politics?’ But once you get into an official political party, it becomes a lot about game playing.

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Michael Sheen has thrown his weight behind the Homeless World Cup which is to be held in Cardiff (Homeless World Cup/PA)

“It’s about trying to define who you are against the opposition.”

He added: “People are definitely a bit jaded and a bit disillusioned with the mainly two-party political system.”

The Conservatives and Labour both faced a backlash at the ballot box over Brexit, while smaller parties and independents surged ahead.

The Frost/Nixon star, who grew up in Baglan – the adjoining village to Port Talbot, said political parties had become distracted by “infighting” and had “lost sight” of their goals.

Sheen added that Brexit had briefly forced the Government to listen to communities such as his hometown but that it had quickly returned to tribal politics.

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Sheen will star alongside David Tennant in forthcoming Amazon Prime Video drama Good Omens (Amazon Prime Video/PA)

He said: “I say this a lot about the Brexit situation, that there was a moment after the referendum, there was a window where people who wouldn’t normally take on board what’s going on in places like Port Talbot where I come from, they suddenly had to take it on board.

“They were forced to. They had to face certain issues. They had to think: ‘Why would people who received all this EU funding suddenly vote against it?’”

He added: “That window closed at a certain point and everyone went back to their camps. It became about other things. I think it’s important that we, as a nation, as a country, take that on.

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Sheen at the Olivier Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in London (Isabel Infantes/PA)

“It shouldn’t just be for a few weeks because suddenly people are writing a few newspapers about it.

“We should take on responsibility for our country as a whole. Not just the more affluent, cosmopolitan areas.”

Against the backdrop of rising levels of homelessness, Sheen has thrown his support behind the Homeless World Cup which is being held in Cardiff this summer.

More than 500 players from at least 50 countries are expected to take part in the event, which is to be held in Bute Park following a bid led by Sheen.

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Netherlands at the Homeless World Cup in Amsterdam in 2015 (Homeless World Cup/PA)

He described the current number of homeless people as “shameful”, hailing football for its ability to break down barriers and provide structure.

He said: “I’ve seen what football can do all over the world. I’ve played football matches in refugee camps in Bangladesh with the Rohingya people coming over from Myanmar.

“I’ve played with boy soldiers in Africa who have been so traumatised by the experience they have had they can barely talk about it.

“But you get a football out and all that suddenly falls away. The barriers are lifted. I’ve seen what football can do.”

The event runs between July 27 and August 3.

PA

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