In less than a year shrouds will be waving, bloody stumps displayed with empty begging bowls as the coalition lays into public services.Oh, noes! Woe is us! The Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse is upon us!
It will be hard to tell who is most seriously injured as attention focuses on rising hospital waiting lists, or falling hopes for a blighted, workless generation.
So how does the cause of the arts make itself heard in that maelstrom?It doesn’t. Next!
Protesting thespians may get short shrift.Yes. And that’s as it should be.
The government should not be bankrolling the arts with public money, end of.
So who will defend the arts?Well, ‘Guardian’ columnists seem to be doing the job, Polly!
The arts generate growth: for a minuscule budget of £1bn, Britain gains its international reputation as a great cultural centre, drawing people to music, theatre, galleries and museums.And none of that would happen without government moolah, would it, Polly? Somehow, I fail to be convinced…
As every party promises to rebalance Britain's economy away from finance, the creative industries are a fast-growing sector. Between 1997 and 2007, they created two million new jobs and £16.6bn in exports. Culture drives tourism, worth £86bn in 2007. Heritage sites, equally fearful of cuts, employ another 270,000 and draw in more tourists. Liverpool's year as European Capital of Culture brought 15 million visitors, making £800m for the local economy.Has anyone ever done any actual measurement of the extent to which the existence of tourism boards help tourism? Would people not visit these shores if they didn’t exist?
The return from a tiny government investment is probably greater in the cultural industries than any other – every £1 the Arts Council England puts in generates another £2 from commercial sources.But it’s not clear that without that £1, the £2 would diminish or stop. That just seems to be assumed.
Arts leaders warn that threatened cuts – 25% or more – mean one in four of the 200 Arts Council-funded bodies will close, theatres will go dark, museums will shut for part of the week, with few blockbuster exhibitions or new commissions.Hey, if those institutions aren’t commercially viable, why should they be propped up with taxpayer’s money?
The New Art Gallery in Walsall, a mini-Bilbao, breathes life into the town…Really? How? Give examples.
Don’t just state it as a fact.
What is the "big society" if not arts for everyone?Well, no-one quite knows what the ‘Big Society’ is, Polly, including the coalition MPs currently name-dropping it into every soundbite.
But we know what it isn’t. It isn’t government-sponsored art that no-one else will pay for. The Croydonian points out where that leads! *shudder*
Tim Worstall has more on the statistical side of dear Polly's effort. And Tim Almond, in the comments, points out her, err, creative use of the term 'creative exports'.