Photographed at Ground Zero NYC, HH March 2002
I watched Channel 4 News' coverage of the funding cuts. They seemed to be the only channel giving more than a cursory summation of the Arts Council funding cuts. I'd been aggravated during the day by comments dismissing the arts as unnecessary, attributing cut backs in the NHS to overfunding of the arts. Channel 4 News had a guest who thought there should be no public funding of the arts. In that case, there should be no public funding of the banks, or the privatised rail network. But we pay taxes, and those are spent by the government for the greater good. Though not life saving, culture can be life enhancing and life affirming. It can provide welfare and can build cohesion and understanding in our multi cultural nation.
Yesterday, I think the Arts Council did well with their much cut budget, and coverage showed the diversity of the arts in our country. I just hope that with a government so hell bent on reducing everything to its economic value, and so short sighted with its planning, that we don't through away arts and culture.
When Margaret Thatcher said "There is no such thing as society', she cursed us all with her prophesy. There must be society, and civilised society should allow people the fundamental right to express themselves creatively and find well being, solace and beauty.
Making all culture only valid if it has commercial value leads to dilution of creativity and plagiarism. We must continue to support arts education and arts funding to nurture the best talent to keep growing our creative industries. Without financial input, there won't be a high quality creative output that will allow our creative industries to flourish.