Thursday, January 12, 2006

Arts to all parts of Wales.

British Nationalist New Labour Minister Alun Pugh, is right to push through a policy of getting the arts to all parts of Wales and all communities. He's to be congratulated for putting this on top of his agenda. He's right also to highlight the way some of the poorest areas get the least for their taxes. Stick to your guns Pugh.

However, yes, there is a however. Sacking Geraint Talfan Davies is a bit harsh. After all the Arts Council of Wales comes under the Assembly Government and before that the Welsh Office remit. Had any of the governments, Labour since 1997 (8 years ago) or Labour Welsh Office Ministers in the 1960s and 70s, made an effort to put this to the top of their agenda, the Arts Council would have jumped - they'd have no choice but to do so.

So what have Labour been doing during their time in office? Or does the Minister blame the Arts Council for not following the Conservatives cultural policy in the 1980s and early 1990s? It's a no win situation for the Arts Council and Davies as scapegoat.

Further more, these deprived areas that are not benefiting from Arts Council money (according to the Minister) are all Labour controlled councils and have been for almost a century. The money, population and skills available are higher in these areas than in more rural areas such as Gwynedd or Powys.

If these areas don't have decent artistic facilities it's because of the lack of vision and intelligence of the Labour controlled councils. These useless Labour councils had had almost a century (and over 60 years since the formation of the Arts Council) to put their case before ministers but did nothing.

It's a damning indictment of the moral and intellectual shallowness of the Labour movement that they've let down their core voters for so long... and now Pugh blames Talfan Davies!

And one last thing. It may be far off in their minds now. But some time Labour will not be in power in the Assembly. How will Alun Pugh, Huw Lewis and the Labour members feel then when an opposition party runs the Arts Council?

Full strength to your campaign Pugh, but don't blame others for Labour's long-term failure - and keep the arts at arms length. The boot could be on the other foot some day!

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