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.

The Conservatives believe the Arts are an ideological luxury that are an easy target for cuts during austerity, the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) – the suite of subjects on which the government judges school performance – does not even include arts subjects anymore, and those studying creative courses at GCSE level fell by 47,000 in 2017.

Labour are no better and although they feel safe in the knowledge that at least they aren’t the Tories, they have been badly damaged by their current stance on Brexit, leaving many within the industry looking for alternatives.

I can count on one hand the number of people I know who feel that any of the main political parties are representing and promoting the Arts and Culture sector sufficiently.

There is so much potential for us to fill that gap, and in part two of this blog later today, I will make the case for why we – the Liberal Democrats – should be playing a much greater role in helping to support Arts and Culture, as well as the wider creative industry, in the UK, and must do so quickly before this unique window of opportunity closes.

* Adam has been a member of the Liberal Democrats for just over a year and is an active campaigner with his local party in Bromley, Kent. Having previously worked as a TV, film and theatre actor and director for over fourteen years, he now runs the Theatrical Guild, a small theatre charity based in Covent Garden, and is writing a book on mental health in the Arts.

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2 Comments

  • Lorenzo Cherin 30th Aug '18 - 2:00pm

    Adam

    I have been a member for many years and have for some of them, said what you are. As a professional in the arts and as someone who has professionally counselled and given seminars to creative practitioners struggling in self employment, you and this interest me. We are kin.

    I tried setting up a specific project for this party and the arts which I have to mention I put a lot of work into. I received interest from members and online.

    I applied to the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, they have funded various campaigns by this party, hundreds of thousands donated. They were terrible, disinterested from the beginning, rude on the phone, turned it down before it could even go ahead, “We don’t fund the arts….!!!!!” there response .

    I at the same time as another member, was also having the idea to set up a group for creatives, I did not know she had got there with a facebook group, it does now exist as this, on facebook, I am a member, but it was set up as a closed group, it has no website yet, and though I have mentioned it and others are interested, no move yet to become an Associated Organisation. We must though.

    I have set up a website, relating to these issues and more,

    http://www.theliberalartscause.com

    Let us go forward on these things, please put in a facebook friends request, you can then liaise with me and colleagues. I am on facebook as Lorenzo Cherin.

  • Peter Hirst 31st Aug '18 - 2:49pm

    The creative arts have a huge part to pay in our society and not just as a revenue gainer and also in communicating our moral, ethical and cultural issues in a way others find challenging.

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