Tuesday, 29 March 2011

More Guff from Lady Toynbee

Toynbee screeches in this morning's Guardian about 'cultural vandalism' in the coalition's trimming of Arts Council grants, completely oblivious to the sustained acts of cultural vandalism committed by the Labour government in flooding the nation with aliens and in the systematic destruction of local cultural identity. Destroying English working-class communities is fine according to Lady Toynbee; cutting 10% State grant from the Black Vagina Dance Collective isn't. 

She's also oblivious to the economic powerhouse of the private-sector arts fields in the UK; film and video post-production expertise that leads the world, London's theatreland, the music industry, publishing, fine arts markets, fashion and iconic design that punches well above its weight in international markets. All of these earn premium export income and pour taxes into the Chancellor's coffers. Unlike the Black Vagina Dance Collective. 

You see, if you cast your eye down the list of 839 arts organisations permanently funded by the Arts Council at a cost of some £325m annually, all but about 40 of them are, frankly, crap. Toynbee may imagine it's a wonderful use of tax money to bring third-rate mime artists into Manchester primary schools, but actually a couple of the kids mums could do just as well for free. Lots of the stuff funded is embarrassingly bad, stuff you'd squirm in discomfort to see it's so awful. Without a State grant, most of it would thankfully not see the light of day. 

The quality end that I think worth subsidising - including bodies such as the RSC, the symphony orchestras, opera and ballet, even the ICA - are an integral part of the UK's cultural 'offer' and secure us a place at the global top table, which is worth having. All that throwing tax money at the Black Vagina Dance Collective achieves is to prevent half a dozen fit-for-work young women from taking their place in the productive economy. 


johnse18 said...

Still, La Toynbee has attracted a mixed response in the comments - quite a number of hostile ones.

Span Ows said...

johnse18, she always does. Some weeks the against repsonses outnumber the pro until the CIF mafia get involved.

This BVDC, do they do private functions?

English Pensioner said...

I strongly object to government support for art in any form; I simply don't see this as a purpose of government or the taxpayers. If your "art" is any good, and liked by the public, you will get support, if it's not, you won't! Simple!
And if they must give grants, they must be made on a "matching basis" - for every pound that you raise from you art, we will match it up to a specified figure.

Ed P said...

Criticising La Toynbee is like shooting fish in a barrel. She sets herself up wonderfully!
Oh, and she doesn't like the way GMG's tax-avoidance schemes have been exposed recently - strange that: maybe she'll be dragged down with them (or piss off to her villa in Tuscany, either would do).
I mostly agree with English Pensioner - good art will be supported. The exception might be ballet & opera, where the huge up-front costs preclude such treatment.

Elby the Beserk said...

My contribution...


Anonymous said...

OMG a nest of smug right w(h)ingers.

Of course Toynbee's right. The support of the arts crucially define the developmental and economic health of nation. Moreover, the arts generate hard cash - the creative industries are worth billions to our economy.

It's a bit like supporting manufacturing, and of course,we all know what Thatcher and her cronies thought of about that... unlike Germany, on the other hand, who are now going great guns and leaving us in the dirt...

Budgie said...

Well North Sea oil is worth billions and the oil industry has to cough up more tax to pay for Labour's debts too.

The "support of the arts" ie taking money by force from taxpayers to fund what the taxpayers choose not to fund voluntarily, does not of course "crucially define" anything other than statist tribalism.

Moreover the manufacturing proportion of UK GDP declined by 5.6% of GDP under Thatcher, but 7.3% of GDP under Labour. The proportional decline wrt the starting figures under Labour is thus 66% worse, see: