British artists about why they vote Labour


This Labour Party video from Britain says about itself:

16 May 2017

“Let’s do it differently: where we work from the principle that the role of government is to give everybody a decent chance.” Here’s our latest TV broadcast, made by Director Ken Loach.

From British daily The Morning Star:

Ken Loach: Why I’m backing Labour

Thursday 1st June 2017

KEN LOACH Film-maker

LABOUR has shown it has great respect for culture in this huge investment that will support schools and see the return of libraries.

The party’s generous arts policy also indicates Labour acknowledges the need for dignity in life with the enrichment that culture provides.

Culture shouldn’t just be sponsored by big corporations, which is how the Tories treat arts funding. Now you can’t enjoy art without sponsorship from companies like Shell.

We need to shift away from big business being the source of everything we do.

This 2016 music video from Scotland is called Maeve MacKinnon – A’ Mhic Doughaill ‘Ic Ruaraidh.

From British daily The Morning Star:

Maeve MacKinnon: Why I’m backing Labour

Thursday 1st June 2017

MAEVE MACKINNON Contemporary Gaelic singer and recording artist

I COME from a family background steeped in left-wing politics and class struggle.

World poverty, racism, inequality and meeting those who dedicate their time to combating these issues have played a huge part in shaping my life.

My parents always voted Labour. My paternal grandparents voted Labour. I always thought I would follow suit.

Then, in 2001 under Labour, Nato invaded Afghanistan, closely followed by the 2003 invasion of Iraq. As the body count of innocent civilians mounted, I swore I would never vote Labour again.

For the next 12 years I voted SNP, SSP and Green and in 2014 I voted for Scottish independence.

In 2015, I was compelled to renege on my vow and I joined the Labour Party. In Jeremy Corbyn I saw a man who embodied the values I grew up with — an individual of impeccable integrity and dedicated to fighting injustice and poverty at home and abroad.

He has demonstrated superhuman resilience in the face of an unrelentingly biased and hostile media in Britain, not least from elements of his own party resistant to the change currently sweeping the Labour movement.

Since the Tories took power in 2010, we have seen the arts sector crumble across Britain. Arts councils in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland have seen millions cut from grants budgets. I know of numerous theatre venues unable to provide fee guarantees for touring artists, and I know a number of previously thriving small festivals in Britain that have folded due to lack of public funding. The arts sector has fallen into a very deep black hole.

As a professional touring musician and card-carrying member of the MU, I was intrigued to read Labour’s manifesto commitments to the arts.

Three pledges stand out.

— A £1 billion culture fund to end the cuts to local authority funding. I can’t stress [enough] how absolutely crucial this is in starting to restore investment and public faith in the arts, brought on by seven years of Tory cuts.

— A creative careers advice campaign in schools to demonstrate the range of opportunities available and the skills required, from the tech sector to theatre production.

This is hugely important for the next wave of potential creative industry professionals. Young people wanting to enter this sector deserve to be given as many opportunities as possible, regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds.

— The promise to work with trade unions and employers to agree sector-specific guidelines on pay and employment standards. Trade unions protect our employment rights in our respective sectors in areas such as pay and equal rights. I believe that it is only under Labour that we can start to reverse the damage already done to the arts and reboot our vibrant cultural economy that is recognised and celebrated throughout the world.

Jeremy Corbyn has restored my faith in Labour. I will be voting for him on June 8.

This video from England says about itself:

BBC Your Picture – Artist Hannah Sawtell with Year One from Firbeck Academy, Nottingham

3 October 2013

Pupils at Firbeck Primary School were curators of a world famous masterpiece – Nottingham artist Harold Knight’s (1874-1961) ‘The Manicure’ from Nottingham Castle Art Gallery as part of a BBC Learning initiative: Your Paintings: Masterpieces in Schools. The project is a new venture aiming to inspire young people and encourage them to explore the nation’s rich and varied painting collection.

From British daily The Morning Star:

Hannah Sawtell: Why I’m backing Labour

Thursday 1st June 2017

HANNAH SAWTELL Artist

On June 8, for the first time in my life, I will walk into a polling booth to vote for a manifesto of socialist policies at a general election.

The arts communities throughout the country, especially outside of cities, can take no more cuts to access to education, spaces to work in and funds for production of works.

It’s obvious to everyone that large amounts of the population are precluded from taking part in or even just experiencing art and music.

If Labour wins the election, my hope is that then we can continue building platforms to help communities experiment or take chances with how they make work.

With further development of non-privatised spaces and schools, we can work against the recent austerity drive which only seems to alter cognition through focus on careerist paths.

It’s hard to imagine, but it feels exciting and essential to finally have a document full of ideas that propose clearly how we could make Britain a place where we all want to live, work and thrive.

This music video from England says about itself:

1 December 2012

QUIET LONER – We Will Not Forget

Film by K. Craig
Cameras Nick Leyland and K. Craig

‘We Will Not Forget’ is the first single to be taken [from] Quiet Loner’s new album of contemporary protest songs ‘Greedy Magicians’. It’s a classic list song in the vein of protest songs from across the ages – simple and direct, but never simplistic, never an easy trick to pull off. With references from the Peterloo Massacre (barely a mile from the album’s recording location in Salford) and the Tolpuddle Martyrs, to Hillsborough, the miners’ strike and the current assault on the NHS and public services, the song is a celebration and remembrance of struggle of ordinary people against the powers that be.

From British daily The Morning Star:

Quiet Loner: Why I’m backing Labour

Thursday 1st June 2017

QUIET LONER Singer and songwriter

FOLLOWING the bombing at Manchester Arena, local people were raw with emotion. Of all the tributes and warm words from the local great and the good, it was a poem that really resonated with people.

Manc poet Tony Walsh captured the feeling with This is the Place and the recording of him reading it at the vigil went viral and touched people’s hearts across the world.

That is the power of the arts to move and enrich our lives, yet the arts are consistently undervalued and underfunded.

Tony’s a working-class lad of Irish heritage and, like many artists of my generation, really only found his poetic voice later in life. He now works in schools trying to give the next generation the support he never had.

At my comprehensive school back in the 1980s we were never encouraged to be creative or artistic, yet my friends who are teachers tell me that kids learn so much from involvement in art, drama and creative writing.

Our cash-rich public schools seem to churn out an endless stream of confident young people who become actors, photographers, artists or pop stars.

Yet I despair at the lack of working-class voices in the arts, especially when you compare it to the 1960s, when our culture was rich with music, film, plays and books created by young working-class artists.

That’s just one of the reasons I’ll be voting for Labour because of the £160 million pupil premium for the arts, which would allow schools to invest in creative projects.

Labour will also introduce a creative careers advice campaign in schools to encourage youngsters to follow their dreams.

I recently did a project with the People’s History Museum in Manchester, putting the history of the vote into songs and trying to reach new audiences with the story of Peterloo, the Chartists and the Suffragettes and, whenever I perform the songs from Battle for the Ballot, people say: “This should be taught be in schools.”

The arts have a role to play in getting our youngsters to understand more about working-class history and, in doing so, bringing back a sense of working-class pride.

A vote for Labour is a vote for valuing music, poetry, painting, dancing, acting and the way they touch our lives.

This music video from England is called The Hurriers – Truth And Justice. The lyrics are here. The song is about police violence against striking miners at the ‘battle of Orgreave‘.

From British daily The Morning Star:

Tony Wright: Why I’m backing Labour

Thursday 1st June 2017

TONY WRIGHT Singer, The Hurriers

A RECENT BBC Arena documentary describes how the Roundhouse arts centre was born out of a former railway engine maintenance building in London’s Camden.

In 1960, in an effort to encourage greater co-operation between the arts and the labour movement, playwright Arnold Wesker forced through Resolution 42 at that year’s Trade Union Congress against the wishes of the executive.

Sadly, perhaps due to that lack of backing from the powers that be in the TUC, the potential for development of the Roundhouse from Wesker’s foresight and vision was never brought to fruition.

Apart from the odd flirtation such as Red Wedge or Noel Gallagher at Number 10, there has been very little meaningful and effective crossover between the Labour Party and popular music.

But, with the very real and tangible commitments to arts funding in the Labour manifesto, we could be about to see things change very much for the better.

At last week’s gig by The Specials in Leeds, attended by tens of thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds, without doubt the biggest cheer of the night came when guitarist Lynval Golding shouted: “Vote Labour and back Jeremy Corbyn!”

We saw similar scenes of adulation when the Labour leader was offered the opportunity to address the crowd at a Libertines gig in Tranmere. The love for Corbyn and what he is trying to do is real, well considered and growing by the day, particularly among younger people.

The focal points for arts investment featured in the Labour manifesto can leave us in no doubt that Corbyn and the party he leads are fully committed to investing in the arts.

It is clear for anyone willing to listen that Labour would encourage future development among existing and future artists, whatever their chosen area of talent, skill and knowledge.

“What price Jerusalem?” asked a poster pasted on the wall of the Roundhouse in the BBC documentary. In terms of protecting, supporting and developing the arts across the nation the answer is simple and it’s the same for our NHS, education and social care. The price for Jerusalem and, indeed, salvation is a Labour victory on June 8.

This music video from England says about itself:

Joe Solo- NO PASARAN! (The Ballad of Jack Atkinson)

3 November 2013

The true story of Jack Atkinson, a lorry driver from Hull, who volunteered for the International Brigade and went to fight the fascists in Spain. The video shows images and posters from the Spanish Civil War 1936-39.

No Pasaran translates as ‘They Shall Not Pass’.

Dedicated to the 35,000 men and women from fifty different countries who left homes and families and jobs to fight fascism.

From British daily The Morning Star:

Joe Solo: Why I’m backing Labour

Thursday 1st June 2017

JOE SOLO Singer-songwriter

CULTURE should challenge. It should provide a counterweight to the daily grind — an escape route, yes, but more than that it’s a signpost on the roadside of history, sometimes changing its direction and sometimes standing as testament to those who tried to change the world and failed.

Without culture we are slaves.

Tory ideology when it comes to culture is two-fold. Firstly, like all else in the world, it simply cannot see its value unless it turns a profit. Why invest in the arts if the bottom line doesn’t work?

It just don’t understand how culture works, how it doesn’t arrive in the world pre-packaged and basking in the spotlight but rather grows organically, sometimes never making a profit but always out there looking to engage and inspire and educate in equal measure.

Secondly, quite aside from the finances, the Tories recognise that culture is the voice of the people and as such needs crushing and controlling, moulding into a form capitalism can recognise.

It is no accident that this generation has no Joe Strummer or Billy Bragg because it has been built into a system pre-programmed to prevent it. The Tories want the pursuit of money and power to inspire our youth, not ideas.

How many young lives are going to waste for lack of investment in their potential? How much of that youthful energy is being wasted because society is hell-bent on turning them into good little consumers instead of energised and inspired human beings?

We are not machines, we are creatures of emotion and these emotions need to be let loose on the world, for in them lies a better future where we can recognise and celebrate not just the achievements of the wallet but of the human soul.

Vote Labour on June 8. Let’s give this country its heart back.

This video from England says about itself:

Attila The Stockbroker – 35 years a punk poet

29 January 2017

This is a mini documentary to celebrate my 35 years earning my living as Attila the Stockbroker. It was directed by the very talented Farouq Suleiman and I think it sums me up pretty well. Recorded in some of my favourite places: at home in Southwick, West Sussex, in Shoreham Port, 800 yards from our front door, at Brighton & Hove Albion FC’s Falmer Stadium (that’s what we fought for all those years, that’s what I’ll always call it!) in Harlow, Essex where I started out as Attila, and live at a gig at the lovely The Greys Pub in Brighton. With some vintage footage of me with HAIR and background music by my medieval punk band Barnstormer. Well done, Farouq. Thanks. And, folks, if you like it, and know someone else who might, please share away! We are DIY 🙂

From British daily The Morning Star:

Attila the Stockbroker: Why I’m backing Labour

Thursday 1st June 2017

ATTILA THE STOCKBROKER Performance poet

THIS is the most important election of my lifetime.

Labour has an inspirational manifesto, full of innovative, practical ideas which will reverse the Tory decimation of our communities and close the massive gulf between rich and poor.

We have a huge membership with the skills to put that manifesto message across online and on the doorstep, in the chat rooms and in the pubs.

We have youth, enthusiasm and energy on our side, and I’m saying that as an old punk rock git of 59. Above all, we have the policies. You know all the big ones. Wealth redistribution and nationalisation are popular again — the Tories realise that and are scared shitless!

I’m going to pick on a few of the smaller ones which resonate with me personally.

The pledge to end tuition fees should impact on every campus, in every sixth form common room and in the mind of every parent unable to provide much cash support and worried about offspring starting off life saddled with debt. I went to university on a full grant in 1975, the first member of my family to do so. I wouldn’t have contemplated it if I knew I was saddling myself with a huge financial burden.

The promise to extend the business rates relief scheme for pubs to small independent music venues and fully implement the agent of change principle — which means you can’t move next door to a music pub and then make a noise complaint — will be a huge benefit to the grassroots of our culture.

They are the heart and soul of the music scene, the place where the mainstream talent develops and where the weird and off-beat, like yours truly, find a home. They deserve 100 per cent support.

Forcing the Premier League to give 5 per cent of its money to grassroots football will have the same effect there. Our country is hugely renowned for its contribution in the world of music and football and under a Corbyn government it will blossom.

And Labour’s plan to force big companies to pay small businesses promptly will be a huge help to small independent breweries.

So there you have it. For real ale, real music and real football, vote Labour!

And where I live that means vote Sophie Cook, official photographer to AFC Bournemouth and The Libertines, who’s standing up for East Worthing and Shoreham.

This 2016 music video from Britain is called Maddy Carty: Same Way.

From British daily The Morning Star:

Maddy Carty: Why I’m backing Labour

Thursday 1st June 2017

MADDY CARTY Singer and songwriter

AS A singer and songwriter, I will be voting Labour on June 8, in the hope of protecting arts and culture in our country. Great art and the opportunity to create it should not be a privilege but a right for all.

In the past I have worked with children and young adults with special educational needs and I have seen first hand the amazing benefits that art, music and drama can have in a therapeutic capacity.

I have also seen the lack of resources and decline of opportunities available in schools due to the cuts to education.

The government are so focused on testing our children that there is often little time put aside for artistic activity. Labour’s promise to invest in the arts is a hugely important part of their manifesto, showing that they are aware of the value of the arts, not only for education but also for society as a whole.

Art and culture contribute significantly to our economy and reputation. They are also our best form of expression and a way of documenting our history and the present. The Conservatives have steadily been chipping away at funding as well as privatising key services — just look at the National Gallery as an example.

Recently, there has been a lot of talk in the media about the lack of diversity within the creative industries and Labour have also promised to work towards finding solutions for this.

It is possible. By investing £160 million into schools for creative projects and introducing creative careers advice campaigns, Labour will make it possible for all children and young people from all backgrounds to study, create and develop their talents.

I was lucky enough to have that chance and I want a government that will make sure that my children have that chance too.

Vote for the many, vote for hope, vote for Labour.

This March 2017 video from England says about itself:

The Rhyming Guide to NHS Privatisation by Potent Whisper

From British daily The Morning Star:

Potent Whisper: Why I’m backing Labour

Thursday 1st June 2017

POTENT WHISPER Rapper, spoken word artist and community organiser

The Art of Education (Short version)

It’s not easy to quantify the benefits of art

But I’ll give it a go for the Morning Star

Art teaches team work, listening, compliance

Research, discipline, defiance

Finance, consistency, history, science

Independence, literacy, industry, self-reliance

Self-belief, acumen, will and dedication,

Speech, management, skills in presentation

Preparation, planning, the fruits of patience

The worth of interpersonal skills, communication

Basically, key skills to serve us for life

These are some of the things that art brings to young minds

But, as I say, it’s not easy to quantify the benefits of art

Development isn’t always something you can chart

Sometimes growth comes within a person’s heart

To learn to understand the world, so they can play their part

Sometimes the miracles of art aren’t visible

Sometimes they only come to light in the dark

And art, my saviour, was provided by the BRIT School

They showed me a future, and they helped me build a path

Art is at the heart of education.

It facilitates growth, provides a path to elevation.

It’s synonymous with confidence; art is the creation

not only of a product but of us as a nation.

We need the growth of people before a growth in profit,

an expansion of minds, not just an expansion of pockets;

an enrichment of lives not simply our wallets,

an enrichment that provides the Britain we promised.

We need real enrichment in this Britain of ours,

and it’s an enrichment we’re given through art.

This video from England says about itself:

20 March 2016

Author and creative writing lecturer Jonathan Taylor talks to BBC Radio Leicester’s Jonathan Lampon about his novel, ‎”Melissa” (Salt Publishing, 2015) and about being shortlisted for the East Midlands Book Award 2016.

From British daily The Morning Star:

Dr Jonathan Taylor: Why I’m backing Labour

Thursday 1st June 2017

DR JONATHAN TAYLOR writer and director of the MA in Creative Writing, University of Leicester

THE CURRENT education system, with its authoritarian targets, over-assessment, brutal competitiveness and Gradgrindian utilitarianism, has a massive effect on students’ mental health. That’s not a sign of a successful system but a deeply damaging one.

There’s little or no space in it for experimentation, imagination or creativity for its own sake. Even when the arts are taught, it’s for some utilitarian reason such as passing exams or literacy

But that’s not what the arts are for, primarily. I helped with the design of the Creative Writing A Level, a lovely course, with both teachers and students valuing it. None of that mattered to the government and it was cut only a couple of years in. A purely ideological decision.

There seems to be a feeling that if something involves play, pleasure or creativity, it isn’t really learning. But if we can’t find a place for pleasure somewhere in childhood and early adulthood then our society has failed. At least there’s some space for the arts in higher education but even there, the poisons of utilitarianism and economic value have spread upwards.

The pledge by Labour to reverse tuition fees is very important. There’s no doubt that the impact of fees at university level is massive, wide-reaching and, unless reversed, will continue to have a huge effect on students from poorer backgrounds who may feel pushed towards subjects which are perceived to provide more linear routes into employment.

In Britain, the arts are always in danger of being dominated by people from wealthier backgrounds because they can afford the internships, materials and the instruments. They also have a sense of entitlement and language understood by funding councils and higher-level arts organisations.

All this can only get worse if university fees increase, with arts departments shrinking and becoming the preserve of the rich.

The crucial point about the introduction of a pupil premium for the arts is the idea that all students should have access to the arts.

The arts should be a fundamental part of everyone’s education. It shouldn’t be a matter primarily of assessment or competition — of how “good” or otherwise someone is perceived to be.

There’s a value in taking part in itself, of learning at all levels. What this means is, ideally, that the arts are democratic. Everyone can learn and participate at every level.

This is how you create a healthy, vibrant, and diverse artistic infrastructure, what Shelley would call a world of poets — and artists.

It’s also crucial in creating a more successful society in terms of mental health.

There’s no point in economic prosperity, which we currently don’t have anyway, if everyone is deeply, profoundly unhappy.

This music video from Britain says about itself:

JUST AN ORDINARY LAWYER

5 November 2016

He is Britain’s first Black judge, a fine singer and keen cricket lover. Finding himself stranded in the Heart of Empire, Nigerian Tunji Sowande muses on Black liberation struggles worldwide. He insists he is no political aficionado, but is content to contribute through his music and songs.

Written and performed by Tayo Aluko

From British daily The Morning Star, this sarcastic humourous article:

Tayo Aluko: Why I’m backing Labour

Thursday 1st June 2017

TAYO ALUKO Writer and performer

JEREMY CORBYN is a threat to national security. As the mainstream media repeats it so often, it must be true. After all, anybody unwilling to state categorically that he would press the red nuclear button without hesitation is clearly unfit to be the leader of this great country.

Even Hillary Clinton has more balls than him because she talked of nuking Iran when she ran against that pussyfooter Obama. Which reminds one of his successor. Now, there’s a real man — one who boasts about grabbing assorted female body parts one day, becomes President the next, drops “the mother of all bombs” the day after, then sends a nuclear armada to the Korean Peninsula before ending the week on a golf course.

That’s the kind of “strong, stable leadership” that we need, which Corbyn is clearly incapable of providing and which our Prime Minister demonstrates in spades — all that hippy talk of keeping the NHS free, of increasing the minimum wage, of building council homes, of multiple renationalisations, of creating a people’s bank and, worst of all, of relating domestic terrorism to foreign policy!

And then he wants to throw all that money at grassroots arts and sports. How irresponsible can one get? Doesn’t he know how dangerous that is? That it will only throw up upstarts like Alice Walker, Paul Robeson and Muhammad Ali? Better to concentrate on curbing immigration. Especially from Africa.

Even as an African, with my British passport securely in my hand, I am mindful — thanks to my in-depth knowledge of historical European-African relations — of the huge debt we owe to our former colonial masters for civilising us.

British imperialism is a great tradition and I recognise in Theresa May the embodiment of that most valued of British values, political honesty. This is the best hope for further peace and development in my troubled continent.

Pay no mind to that pretender, Jeremy Corbyn. That famous photograph of him being arrested at an anti-apartheid demonstration decades ago was staged and only reveals his terrorist sympathies and true communist leanings, which threaten to take us back not just to the 1970s but to the Dark Ages, reversing centuries of noble, charitable work by the White Man on behalf of his poor African brothers.

So, be patriotic, be strong, be wise. Vote on June 8 — but for anybody but Labour. Your country’s security depends on you.

From British daily The Morning Star:

Stephen Wright: Why I’m backing Labour

Thursday 1st June 2017

STEPHEN WRIGHT Chair, Musicians’ Union Scotland and Northern Ireland

IN 2014 many, almost certainly a majority, of Scotland’s musicians, writers, artists and performers, including myself, voted Yes in the Scottish independence referendum. Most were attracted to the perceived progressive opportunities offered by an independent Scotland.

We voted Yes as a means of ending austerity, achieving social and economic justice, tackling poverty and creating a fairer, more equal society. The argument amounted to: independence first, then we can work towards socialism at some point thereafter.

On June 8 there is another opportunity to vote for a progressive vision.

Corbyn is clearly a champion of the arts. His manifesto commitments of a £1 billion culture fund, plus the £160 million pupil premium, will transform access to the arts and unleash the creative potential of our young people.

In recent years a common cry in Scotland from many on the left has been: “I didn’t leave Labour, Labour left me”. To some extent this was an understandable, if slightly opportunist, position to adopt as the calamitous Blairite leadership of Scottish Labour presided over a succession of disastrous election results in Scotland.

Even if Labour did leave you then it’s back now, under the radical leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

One thing is certain in this election. On June 9 Nicola Sturgeon will not be Prime Minister. You cannot feed your children with flags.

There is only one progressive choice in this election: if you claim to be progressive, radical or socialist then you should vote for Corbyn on June 8.

Rarely have the class divisions in society presented themselves so starkly in an election.

Choose which side you are on. Tell yourself you stood with all of the people, on the right side of history, and for the many not the few.

This 19 May 2017 video from Britain says about itself:

EXCLUSIVE: Lowkey on Corbyn

From British daily The Morning Star:

Lowkey: Why I’m backing Labour

Thursday 1st June 2017

LOWKEY Rapper

AS A volunteer in my local youth centre, I have closely observed the burdens austerity and partial privatisation has placed on staff and facilities and, in turn, the way this process has stifled the creative flair of brilliant young people brimming with ideas and unrealised potential.

In the neoliberal era, building a career in the field of cultural expression has become a pursuit increasingly monopolised by those coming from backgrounds which allowed them the space and comfort to develop their talents and ideas.

Labour’s pledge of a £1 billion culture fund will exponentially increase opportunities for young people to develop their talents. It will not only be life-changing on an individual level but it will also nurture the notion that talent is cultivated within a community rather than honed alone behind a computer screen, as is increasingly the case.

As a musician with extensive experience in the music industry I also welcome Labour’s pledge to agree sector-specific guidelines on pay and employment. The music industry is rife with exploitation and ambiguous working relations in which many people are systematically alienated from the fruits of their own labour.

A serious government policy which addresses these practices and sets clear obligations on employers will allow people to pursue cultural work as a career rather than merely as a hobby they fit in between work.

While encouragement of diversity on screen and behind the scenes may attempt to heal traditional institutional biases with aesthetic gestures, it can also serve to inspire generations of people and aid them in imagining themselves as an integral part of society rather than merely a tolerated presence within it.

It has the potential to break the “old boys club” mentality prevalent in much of the national media institutions, both in practise and in public perception.

Neoliberal orthodoxy the world over has been proven time and again to create less participatory and more atomised societies. However, if these essential components of the manifesto are implemented it will not only allow cultural life to blossom with the support of state institutions rather than wither under Tory austerity but will also build a more interconnected, interdependent, empathetic and ultimately less alienated society.

This music video from Britain says about itself:

Poverty Knocks- Lizzie Nunnery and Vidar Norheim

From British daily The Morning Star:

Lizie Nunnery: Why I’m backing Labour

Thursday 1st June 2017

LIZZIE NUNNERY Playwright

HERE’S just one of many reasons I’m voting Labour: I’m tired of a national conversation that relegates art to a frill on the edge of society.

If we don’t know how to describe ourselves, we’re nothing. If we don’t know how to imagine ourselves and our futures differently, we’re done for. Art allows that essential freedom. If we allow continued cuts to arts funding in schools, community organisations and the subsidised arts sector, there is only one result: art becomes a privilege for those who can afford it.

Since 2010, Conservative policy has led to dramatic reduction in arts teaching hours and arts teachers employed in schools. Young people are not simply being denied self-expression, they’re being denied opportunities to make sense of themselves and the world around them.

As the recent report by the Cultural Learning Alliance states: “To limit young people’s access to the full range of cultural experience is to disenfranchise a generation. They will be intellectually poorer, emotionally more limited and socially more isolated.”

As a playwright, I’ve seen the immediate impact of cuts to the arts under the Conservatives.

Artists are great at rallying together and making work in spite of it all but that doesn’t change the fact that fewer artists are being employed by theatres, fewer scripts are being commissioned and fewer theatres are taking financial risks on new plays because they can’t afford to.

The number of staff employed nationally to develop new scripts and new writers has dwindled. The support network I experienced when I wrote my first play in 2004 is not there for so many writers across the country. Talent is slipping through the net and we can’t even quantify it.

What the Conservative government wants to solely quantify is immediate funding in and revenue out, the irony being that the broader model of subsidised theatre in Britain has for decades nurtured talent long-term, facilitating the emergence of huge commercial theatrical successes — the kind of successes that bring tourists swarming to the West End, that make us a creative destination.

Conservative arts policy is equivalent to tearing down the house to save the wallpaper.

Labour are committed to turning the tide, investing £1 billion to end cuts to local authority funding and, crucially, introducing a £160 million pupil premium for the arts, allowing schools to invest in creative projects.

They’re also committed to finding rapid solutions to increase diversity on and off stage and screen because Corbyn and his party know the arts are not a luxury or a disposable extra.

They are an incontrovertible right.

This 9 May 2017 video from Britain says about itself:

Julie Hesmondhalgh: Labour’s a party of “people who give a toss about stuff”

From British daily The Morning Star:

Julie Hesmondhalgh on why she’s backing Labour

Thursday 1st June 2017

JULIE HESMONDHALGH Actor

I support Labour’s arts and culture manifesto and am fully behind it. The Tory ex-Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan has this idea that art is not a proper career path for young people, so funding has been slashed for those kind of courses.

With tuition fees for higher and further education becoming more vocation-based it is being run in a capitalist way. The Tories don’t understand or value learning for learning’s sake.

We don’t want the arts community to become the preserve of a privileged few, with a narrow group telling stories for the future and whole swathes of people unrepresented on our screens, on our stages and in our art galleries.

It really matters. It is only Labour who have always really valued the arts and that is why Labour’s art and culture manifesto is so important.

It’s absolutely fantastic and it will be great to see investment as opposed to the onslaught of cuts by the Tories.

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