Tag Archives: culture

Hay Festival provides food for thought for so many more people

The beautiful Welsh town of Hay-on-Wye is in the constituency of Brecon and Radnorshire. Jane Dodds, the Welsh Lib Dem leader lives there and every year they hold a book festival.

This year the pandemic has inspired them to take the festival online and make it available to people for free. Most things are now fully booked, but I managed to register for about 9 events.

So far I’ve seen one of the pioneers of the feminist movement, Gloria Steinem discuss gender inequality with Everyday Sexism founder Laura Bates.

Yesterday evening, the BBC’s Jon Sopel described the surreality of Donald Trump’s White House. Remember when it came out that Donald Trump had had a very sweary response to the appointment fo Robert Mueller? Sopel described the tortuous discussions at the BBC about whether he could use the word. He did in the end, and his story was better for it.

He talked about how for all Trump’s shortcomings, he understands his base and what he needs to do to keep them on board. There are lessons for us all in that, as we see our government adopt the same brazen tactics.

A night out at the Trump hotel i Washington ended up with Sopel and his wife gawping at Trump and his wife Melania, after he became President, who were having dinner in the same restaurant.

This evening, I listened to author Elif Shafak talk about her vision for a new, more egalitarian world after the pandemic. As part of a series of lectures, she talked about the importance of knowledge, wisdom and empathy and the role of storytelling in bringing people together.

We can’t, she said, just go back to normal.

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Daily View 2×2: 7 April 2020

2 big stories

The Prime Minister is in intensive care, and yesterday I found myself wondering who is running the country. Simon Jenkins isn’t really convinced that anybody is…

Britain’s present predicament is yielding lessons aplenty. One is that the formal machinery of government matters. Johnson’s response to coronavirus has been to nationalise, standardise, command and control everything. In his lockdown, one rule must fit all. Such is Britain’s centralist constitution. But if so, it must depend on one thing: efficient and accountable leadership. At present the prime minister is clearly unfit. A public and functioning alternative must surely be in place.

Is …

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8 July 2019 – at the end of the day, it’s the end of the day…

Well, thank you for your company today, and for your comments. Also, thanks to my colleagues, Paul and Caron, for filling some of the gaps.

The noble Lord Greaves has noted that, whilst not much has been happening, we did miss an interesting debate in the Lords on 27 June, proposed by Barbara Janke, on the impact of recent benefit changes on vulnerable people. We (and by that, I mean “I”) have rather lost the habit of reporting on the Lords. Perhaps I need to get back into the swing of that, as nobody else seems to be keen on doing …

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16 December 2018 – today’s press releases, or not…

A quiet Sunday, as the media speculate on how each of the myriad routes towards a range of potential outcomes might be navigated, and various Conservative MPs operate independently of their own leader. We used to take some vague pride in the stability of our governments, but no longer, it seems…

And so, instead of news, I offer more music. The lute music was popular, or at least, someone indicated that they liked it, which is as good as, I suspect. So, let’s try something from a century or so later, a Bach Prelude for harpsichord…

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1 December 2018 – today’s absence of press releases

A day off from the media melee today so, as is my habit on such days, some music to take our minds off of the chaos around us.

Today, to reflect the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires, we take a short hop over the Andes to Santiago, for a live performance by Eva Ayllon and Inti Illimani Historico…

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18 November 2018 – today’s absence of press releases

It’s another Sunday, and whilst much has been said, no press releases have been received. So, instead, here’s another musical interlude for you. My former next door neighbour introduced to me to the wonders of sixteenth and early seventeenth century lute music, and here’s an example, courtesy of the Swedish lutenist, Jakob Lindberg…

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23 October 2018 – today’s (absence of) press releases

There’s a turn-up for the book, no press releases at all today, so it seems.

And so, instead of just leaving a space, here’s a musical interlude for you which also acts as a pointer towards a famous Belgian…

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Part 2: Why the Liberals Democrats should be the natural political home for Arts and Culture in the UK

Part Two – How We Can Support The Arts And Culture Industry In The UK 

The Arts and Culture industry is currently wrestling with a plethora of issues that we already hold high on our agenda.

Mental health still carries a stigma within the Arts, with performers and backstage workers, for example, knowing that were they to share their struggles with anxiety or depression, the chances of them being employed would be substantially reduced. Productions are run on a tight budget and timescale, and the risk of employing someone who may be in the eyes of a producer ‘potentially unreliable’ is much too high to take.

Sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace remain commonplace in many renowned creative buildings, where the rules of other industries seem not to apply, and young employees are treated as commodities, with management buoyed by the knowledge that the pool of people wanting to work in the industry far outweighs the number of jobs available.

Despite recent improvements, there remain great challenges with diversity, with the Arts still being dominated by white, middle class men, leaving women, who are further penalised should they have children, working class talent, those with disabilities, and minorities largely underrepresented.

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Why the Liberals Democrats should be the natural political home for Arts and Culture in the UK

Part One – Why The Arts And Culture Industry Deserves Our Support

The Arts and Culture industry contributed £11.8bn to the UK economy in 2017, grew by 10% (five times faster than the wider economy), employed over 674,000 people, and returned £5 for every £1 of Government funding.

Creatives – certainly the ones I met in my fourteen years as an actor and director in film, TV and theatre – are predominantly liberal, progressive, and pro-EU. Now, more than ever, we should be their natural political home.

The Arts do immeasurable good. As well as contributing greatly towards the economy, they also help to rejuvenate towns and cities, provide us with a vehicle to understand, challenge and inspire the world we live in, enhance social cohesion, play a vital role in the development of life-skills such as confidence, self-identity and expression in individuals, and even act as a means of therapy, particularly successful amongst young children who have experienced great trauma.

Yet, no political party seems to fully appreciate or understand the true value of the Arts, leaving many creatives without a political home.

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Make time for football! The social impact of participating in culture and sport

As a professional musician and the mother of a keen athlete, I was interested to learn that the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee are looking into the social impact of participating in culture and sport.

On Tuesday they took evidence from three people: Darren Henley, Chief Executive, Arts Council England; John Herriman, Chief Executive, Greenhouse Sports; and Deborah Williams, Executive Director, Creative Diversity Network. The questions asked were around the power of culture and sport to address deep-seeded social issues.

Deborah Williams made the point that we need a broader understanding of what culture is, that it is not elitist, but that there are a breadth of cultural opportunities available and space for all to participate. She highlighted the need for education to be for the whole child.

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LibLink: Christine Jardine: A shadow over the Edinburgh Festival

In an article for the New European, Christine Jardine highlights the threats to our cultural events, most notably the Edinburgh Festival, posed by Brexit:

 

But sadly if our creative industries are not protected world class events like the Festival, Glastonbury, and many others may find that musicians used to touring Europe freely with no issues over EU crew or equipment licenses could find the whole process becomes slower, more expensive and just downright difficult.

They might opt to take up other opportunities on the continent or elsewhere.

Music development organisations and other cultural groups might also find themselves without the vital funding stream previously provided by the EU.

But that is the immediate effect. There could also be collateral damage for one of our other most important industries if they cease to be the cash cows the tourist industry has come to depend on.

And the scale of visitor numbers attracted by the Edinburgh Festival every year demands a huge hospitality sector in which an estimated 50 per cent of the workforce come from other EU states.

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Christine Jardine “utterly dismayed” by Leveson statement

Christine Jardine responded for the Liberal Democrats to the Government’s statement that they will not proceed with

Her question is posted below:

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4 December – perhaps even our friends in Europe think that it’s farewell…

Well, it’s the end of another day of Brexit chaos. Who rules our country, one might ask, the Conservatives or the Democratic Unionists, all ten of them? Stay tuned for tomorrow’s episode of “Sorry, we haven’t a clue”, starring Theresa May and the Conservative Party…

The problem is that our former partners are increasingly convinced that, whilst our Government is probably crazy, they are intent on following this through. What Europe wants now is to end this, so as to be able to move on with its long term agenda.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t time to write this week’s preview of the week …

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Opinion: ‘Cultural appropriation’ – a horrible concept from progressives

 

A phrase progressives increasingly use in debate about language, behaviour, traditions, is ‘cultural appropriation’. The form is typically: “they shouldn’t do that, it’s cultural appropriation.” The basis is that a culture, race, or nation, can ‘own’ an idea, style, word, or language – and that others shouldn’t ‘appropriate’ it. The implication is that cultural appropriation is bad, and that if something involves cultural appropriation then it, too, is bad.

Let’s start at the beginning: without cultural appropriation most of us would still be living naked in caves. Rewind history and consider how detrimental to humanity it would be without cultural appropriation.

Posted in Op-eds | 38 Comments

That was the day that was… 15 March (with added by-election good news)

Another day over, here at Liberal Democrat Voice, and a fascinating one it has been too.

There is good news to report from Arun, in Sussex, courtesy of Cllr Jamie Bennett;

To put the result in perspective, a Conservative majority of nearly 1,000 was overturned, with Liberal Democrats up from 16% to 34%. Congratulations to our successful candidate, Paul Wells, and all of the team in Aldwick East.

Elsewhere, Liberal Democrat proposals for press regulation have been published on the Party website. We’ll have more coverage of that over the weekend and early next week.

And finally, in keeping with my occasional attempts to bring culture to the masses, here’s a little something that I’d like to dedicate to our site’s resident Eurosceptic…

Posted in Humour and YouTube | 4 Comments
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