A rare outbreak of common sense last month from Labour’s Southville councillor SEAN ‘DADDY’S BOY’ BEYNON called for a ten per cent cut in the generous handouts for the city’s Key Arts Providers (KAP) as part of the city’s recent slash-and-burn budget.
Naturally there was an explosion of rage from the city’s wealthy and influential luvvie lobby at this small challenge to their large sense of entitlement.
The rage was mingled with disbelief at how anybody could question the overwhelming social value of stuff like the BRISTOL OLD VIC’s latest effort – a five hour, state-subsidised overblown theatrical production of an overwrought Victorian potboiler, Jane Eyre, organised by a Cambridge graduate with a terrible wardrobe!
Legendary local luvvie DICK ‘THE DISRUPTOR’ PENNY, soon waded in with some back-of-the- fag-packet calculations to “prove” that this kind of marginal nonsense is in fact an economic powerhouse for the city and that our luvvie legions are doing a selfless and remarkable job for the masses.
“Combined turnover of not for profit arts and museums organisations in the West of England last year was £55m,” huffed Penny, “and that’s a pretty major return on BCC investment.”
“And none of this takes into account the huge benefit to social cohesion, education, tourism and inward investment,” he puffed. Although he failed to produce a shred of evidence to back up his claims – and what the hell is “social cohesion” anyway?
What he also failed to explain is how this small cut, which would amount to just £100k, would have any effect whatsoever on an industry with a turnover of £55m. Are we meant to believe that a reduction of just one fifth of one per cent of its turnover is going to bring this industry to its knees?
Penny further neglected to point out that one organisation, WATERSHED, receives city council grants in excess of £300k in 2013, which, er … Pays his wages! He also neglected to point out that an increase of just one pound in cinema tickets for the very well-heeled ABC1 audience his venue attracts would make in the region of £100k a year!
So that’s what “social cohesion” is all about, then: the poorest directly subsidising elitist entertainment and the wages of the wealthiest.