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Billy Bragg Addresses Parliament

March 8, 2002

LONDON (AP) _ Rock singer Billy Bragg hiked up his sweater to show off a T-shirt featuring the punk band the Clash as he testified in Parliament, telling legislators they were out of touch with the British people.

``I look at you here in your suits and ties and me sitting here in my Clash T-shirt, and I don’t really see myself represented here,″ he told the House of Commons Public Administration Committee Thursday. ``The majority of us don’t see ourselves.″

Asked to speak about how public appointments are made, Bragg blamed Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Labor party government for making young people cynical by failing to live up to its promises.

He rebuffed a 44-year-old Welsh legislator who pointed out that he and the 44-year-old Bragg were from the same generation and both grew up on punk rock.

``You should see my audience,″ the musician told lawmaker Kevin Brennan. ``They are all the same age as us, and they don’t look like you, mate.″

Bragg, whose music has a leftist political message, said it was important to convince young people that they could have an impact on government.

He urged lawmakers to change the way members of the House of Lords are selected, saying the legislative body should include ordinary people who lack political connections.

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