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Opinion

The Connor Brothers offer a fresh view of a better Britain

The artists take over The Big Issue this week with a focus on emerging and established names across sport, culture and activism. Their version of Britain offers hope, writes Paul McNamee.

Each year we invite stars of the art world to take over an edition of The Big Issue. They bring a wholly different perspective. They encourage us to view the world differently.

Frequently the artists bring friends and associates to tackle a theme. The results have always been fascinating.

This time round, James Golding and Mike Snelle, The Connor Brothers, approach from a different angle.

They look at where Britain is just now. Post-Brexit, post-Covid, in a time of identity politics, uncertain futures for many and what feels like closing borders, they offer a different view of a potentially better nation.

They bring together art they have been creating that focuses on fascinating emerging and established names across sport, culture, campaigning and social change. It’s a glorious collection that you’re not going to get anywhere else but The Big Issue.

The Connor Brothers have been through the mill. They come not to bury Britain but to praise it

The Connor Brothers don’t come at things from an entitled ivory tower, closed off from the hard realities of lives as they are lived. They have been through the mill themselves. There is no aloof sneering, rather a celebration of possibilities. They come not to bury Britain but to praise it.

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Timing is everything. As we ramp up towards the 30th anniversary of The Big Issue, we are looking ahead as much as marking achievements of this organisation from the past. There will more on the 30th in the coming weeks.

Clearly, there is still work to be done, for our vendors and increasingly for people in perilous positions as worries grow and furlough protections end. Our Stop Mass Homelessness campaign will become louder and more insistent as the days shorten.

But here, this week, The Connor Brothers offer hope.

It’s an edition of positive possibilities.

We thank them for bringing it.

Paul McNamee is editor of The Big Issue

The exclusive Connor Brothers takeover of The Big Issue is out now.Get the special edition, full of custom artwork and sure to be a collector’s item, from your local vendor or from The Big Issue Shop

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