The Evil Imp

Fair Share

“We are prepared to take our fair share of the pain associated with the Coalition’s financial policies.”

We don’t know who Chris Monks AD of Stephen Joseph Theatre is, we’re sure he’s a nice guy and all that but the quote made above in response to the cuts being proposed by North Yorkshire County Council is becoming the entrenched position of too many in the arts.

The ongoing meme that we all need to suffer equal pain because of the coalition government’s reckless fiscal policies is just one step away from grandma’s utterances of “there’s always someone worse off than you”.

Following that logic then somebody unjustly imprisoned for five years should get over it because there must be somebody who has been unjustly imprisoned for ten years, so stop crying about it already!

Fair has nothing to do with it.

Prior to the “austerity” measures being announced a common train of thought among the arts haters and the public spending hooligans was that “the good times are over” for the arts. Well here’s some breaking news buddy, the good times were never here.

Sure, the big fish at National Theatre and entrenched bureaucrats like Alistair Spalding are skimming huge sums for themselves in inflated salaries and bonus schemes but on the ground, where the real work gets done, things are as crap as they always were.

Under investment, poor pay, no contracts, no support and middle manager egos run amok. That individuals and the small to mid-scale have managed achieve everything they have has come from nothing more than hard work and a level of dogged persistence that would make a Royal Marine wince.

In a recent piece in the Guardian, Liz Forgan chairman of ACE, said;

“Nothing too terrible will happen to the great established institutions if our funding to them is cut, but if we stop our funding to young talent then a whole generation of artists and audiences could be lost,”

Which is why of course ACE spends tens of millions on a few ballet companies while mid-scale contemporary companies survive, for the most part, on pennies. Nothing like a slab of blatant hypocrisy on a cold Thursday morning. Perhaps though we should welcome the fact that ACE’s thinking has caught up with reality and welcome them with open arms to the party.

This is just a suggestion but maybe what Chris Monks should be arguing about is not the fact that the cuts proposed by North Yorkshire County Council are 80%. That 80% amounts to £115,000 per year of actual money. So North Yorkshire County Council spends less than £150,000 on culture per annum.

The cuts are idiotic, but that’s not the most outrageous part of this story.

We, here in TheLab™, understand that equivocation is, sometimes, a good thing. Like when somebody is pointing a gun at you and you need to talk them down. Nobody is pointing a gun at you however so please, put your hands down.

Do you really think defence lobbyists are saying “we need to share the pain”? What about private health care lobbyists, pharmaceutical companies, farming groups or trade unions?

Trust us when we tell you, they are not playing fair, they are not equivocating and they are not playing nice, so why the hell are you?

[ The Stage ]