ART AT­TACK

BRI­TAIN’S CUL­TURAL IN­DUS­TRIES MIGHT JUST SUR­VIVE BREXIT... BUT THEY WON’T BLOS­SOM ANY MORE

The New European - - Index - BY HOWARD GOODALL

The com­poser spells out why Brexit will mean dis­as­ter for British arts and cul­ture

In an epic es­say, award­win­ning com­poser HOWARD GOODALL chron­i­cles the myr­iad ways in which the UK’S cul­tural scene will be a gloomier one as a re­sult of leav­ing the EU

Afew weeks ago I had an en­counter with a man at a cur­rency ex­change desk at Heathrow air­port and tweeted the con­ver­sa­tion thus: “Nice bloke at Heathrow cur­rency ex­change desk asks whether Brexit will be good for my in­dus­try. When I said no, dis­as­trous, he said he asks ev­ery­one the same ques­tion: and Ev­ery. Sin­gle. Per­son gives the same an­swer. But a bunch of Old Eto­nian con­men think they know bet­ter.”

It is my most read tweet ever (8500+ retweets, 18500+ likes and 1.67m im­pres­sions). One of the re­sponses was from Tory MP Na­dine Dor­ries who asked, cour­te­ously, why Brexit would be dis­as­trous for my line of work. This is my an­swer.

First of all, why was I at Heathrow? Be­cause I was trav­el­ling to Texas to re­hearse and con­duct the world pre­mière of a new work of mine, In­vic­tus: A Pas­sion that had been com­mis­sioned by a large and thriv­ing church com­mu­nity in Hous­ton. In or­der to re­hearse and con­duct with the choir and orches­tra, the com­mis­sion­ing church’s mu­sic & arts de­part­ment were obliged to en­gage a team of lawyers to work on the visa sub­mis­sion made, ini­tially, to the US De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity to ac­quire a ‘pe­ti­tion’ (per­mis­sion doc­u­ment from the re­quest­ing body in the USA).

This process is time-con­sum­ing and (if the lawyers hadn’t been mem­bers of the con­gre­ga­tion of­fer­ing their time pro bono) rel­a­tively ex­pen­sive too. It took weeks, in fact, since to be classed as an alien of ‘Ex­cep­tional Abil­ity’ you can’t just as­sert you have won awards or had your work per­formed all over the world, you have to prove all th­ese claims in writ­ing. You can’t as­sert you have won an Emmy award, for ex­am­ple, you have to show it, ei­ther as a scan of its cer­tifi­cate or a pho­to­graph of the phys­i­cal award it­self bear­ing your name.

Mul­ti­ply this process by the 40 years of my ca­reer thus far and you can ap­pre­ci­ate how the hours mount up. That’s just the first stage. The sec­ond stage in be­ing granted a visa (for one week’s work!) is you mak­ing your own ap­pli­ca­tion on­line to the US em­bassy, armed with the pe­ti­tion that you hope

you have by now been granted (which in it­self is in­suf­fi­cient to al­low you to travel and work). This took a few hours of fur­ther bu­reau­cracy and the pay­ment of roughly £140 of fees. The third stage is an in­ter­view at the em­bassy it­self, for which one has to al­low ap­prox­i­mately three hours to in­clude a fair amount of queu­ing.

Of course this is noth­ing com­pared to the night­mare of fill­ing in forms and ex­pen­di­ture when one is ap­ply­ing to em­i­grate any­where th­ese days. I know it is a priv­i­lege to be able to work in an­other coun­try as I do from time to time but my point is this: I con­duct my works fairly reg­u­larly. If I were to un­der­take the same re­hears­ing and con­duct­ing job in Berlin, or Rome or Paris I sim­ply get on a plane and go and do it. No ad­min­is­tra­tive costs, no visas, no long de­lays not know­ing whether one can travel. Brexit will deny me, and all pro­fes­sional mu­si­cians, this easy ac­cess to 27 other coun­tries, coun­tries which in the world of mu­sic are sig­nif­i­cant and busy em­ploy­ers of mu­si­cians.

The bu­reau­cracy I and my Hous­ton friends had to ful­fil to get me there for one week will be repli­cated for any of those 27 coun­tries from next March on­wards. For reg­u­larly-per­form­ing in­stru­men­tal­ists and singers across the mu­si­cal sec­tor, who have grown ac­cus­tomed to work­ing at short no­tice through­out the EU as part of their port­fo­lio of work, never mind all those en­sem­bles, or­ches­tras and bands who tour, the re­al­ity of Brexit will in ef­fect choke off much of their liveli­hood.

The Labour MEP Richard Cor­bett has com­piled a suc­cinct (and quite alarm­ing) list of the is­sues Brexit raises for pro­fes­sional mu­si­cians work­ing in the clas­si­cal arena.

Among the points he makes is that even if we were to ne­go­ti­ate visa-free ac­cess for mu­si­cians, or­ches­tral play­ers would still see 15 to 20% of their salary de­ducted to pay for so­cial se­cu­rity in their host coun­try, a cost that is cur­rently waived un­der the EU’S A1 sys­tem.

Even the move­ment of in­stru­ments would be­come more prob­lem­atic. Out­side of a cus­toms union, mu­si­cians would need to hold an ATA Car­net to avoid pay­ing im­port du­ties and taxes on their in­stru­ments. Such car­nets are ex­pen­sive, and checks will lead to long queues at bor­ders.

It’s im­por­tant to note at this point that mu­sic is not a sub­sidiary, lux­ury, mi­nor in­dus­try for the UK. We are the sec­ond-big­gest provider of mu­sic to the world af­ter the USA. Mu­sic is of enor­mous ben­e­fit to us as a coun­try. That is a fact, not an opin­ion. Nor is it spe­cial plead­ing. For a mod­ern, de­vel­oped coun­try to de­lib­er­ately, wil­fully stran­gle one of its lead ex­porters is bor­der­ing on in­sane. In­deed, the cre­ative in­dus­tries as a whole are the fastest-grow­ing sec­tor in our econ­omy, worth last year just un­der £100bn to our na­tional cof­fers (to put that in con­text, in 2016 the NHS cost us £115bn).

The Cre­ative In­dus­tries Fed­er­a­tion are deeply con­cerned about the knock-on ef­fects of Brexit on this sec­tor and have pub­lished their con­cerns on their web­site. Th­ese in­clude:

• The ca­pac­ity to re­tain and re­cruit tal­ent and how new visa rules will be im­ple­mented,

• In­creased costs, in­clud­ing ad­di­tional ad­min­is­tra­tion for British artists in tour­ing to the EU and for British venues want­ing to present non-uk EU na­tion­als,

• The im­pact on the fi­nances and in­ter­na­tional stand­ing of British higher ed­u­ca­tion of a likely cut to the num­ber of EU stu­dents and academics,

• The loss of rights pro­tect­ing orig­i­nal de­signs with knock-on ef­fects for trade show­cases such as Lon­don Fash­ion Week,

• The UK’S abil­ity and will­ing­ness to de­fend its in­ter­ests in ne­go­ti­a­tions on the Dig­i­tal Sin­gle Mar­ket and other ar­eas of reg­u­la­tions,

• The loss of EU fund­ing streams which have been par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant in UK na­tions and re­gions,

• Whether the UK will pro­ceed with host­ing the Euro­pean City of Cul­ture in 2023.

The Mu­si­cians’ Union and my own pro­fes­sional com­posers’ body, BASCA, have also ex­pressed their con­cerns.

You’d imag­ine, per­haps, that be­ing a pro­fes­sional com­poser might not be as se­verely af­fected by the end of free­dom of move­ment within Europe as one would as a player, or as a highly-skilled video ed­i­tor, sound en­gi­neer, or App de­vel­oper. It’s true that the mu­sic it­self will still be per­formed, in my case that means all over the world.

Any­one who’s ever been on hol­i­day in Asia will have seen that copy­right piracy is more or less en­demic in th­ese would-be vast mar­kets for mu­sic and other cre­ative forms. You can buy a DVD or a CD of more or less any­thing off the street, not to men­tion soft­ware pro­grams or video games, and no-one is pay­ing the cre­ators of this work a cent for do­ing so. This in­cludes, for ex­am­ple, the mu­sic that I write for the Mr Bean films, TV pro­grammes and an­i­mated movies that have a mas­sive au­di­ence all over the world. The laws that pro­tect copy­right-hold­ers have dur­ing the past 40 years been har­monised across the EU and we as in­di­vid­u­als, never mind in­di­vid­ual coun­tries, have un­quan­tifi­ably more clout in ne­go­ti­at­ing with other ter­ri­to­ries as a unified group than on our own. It’s baf­fling why I even need to spell

this out in the 21st cen­tury, as if there’s any­one left alive who doesn’t get this sim­ple fact of the mar­ket place.

As it hap­pens, Euro­pean copy­right laws have, dur­ing my 40-year ca­reer as a pro­fes­sional com­poser, been far more pro­tec­tive towards me and my fel­low cre­ators than our own UK gov­ern­ment. That ap­plies to the chil­dren of cre­ators too. Thanks to our mem­ber­ship of the

EU, in 1995, the UK’S old copy­right term, life of the writer + 50 years, was in­creased to life of writer + 70 years.

The first gi­ant wave of copy­right piracy (let’s call it what it is – theft) was back in the day of cas­sette recorders. The mu­sic in­dus­try’s losses to cas­sette copy­ing in the 1980s were seis­mic, even when com­pared to mod­ern-day in­ter­net piracy. Cre­ators’ or­gan­i­sa­tions asked merely that there might be a small levy (15p I seem to re­mem­ber was the fig­ure pro­posed in the mid-80s) placed on the sale of ev­ery blank cas­sette to re­mu­ner­ate all the com­posers and mu­si­cians whose work was be­ing ripped off by mil­lions ev­ery day. The EU backed this re­quest but the UK Tory gov­ern­ment of the time, lob­bied by the com­pa­nies who were prof­it­ing from sell­ing the cas­settes and play­ers, re­fused to grant the levy.

The EU also re­sponded to cre­ators’ re­quests for the grant­ing of so-called ‘mo­ral’ rights to writ­ers, com­posers and copy­right hold­ers, so that, in an era where me­dia were in­creas­ingly be­ing trans­ferred on, re-sold, syn­di­cated and oth­er­wise re-dis­trib­uted, the orig­i­nal mak­ers of a work would have to be ac­knowl­edged. Along with ac­knowl­edge­ment of some­one’s con­tri­bu­tion to a film, or record, or TV pro­gramme came a much greater like­li­hood that they would be re­mu­ner­ated as their work was shunted on down the line from en­ter­prise to en­ter­prise. Mo­ral rights were there­fore a good, fair idea and were also for­ward­think­ing to the world of me­dia dis­tri­bu­tion that is the norm in our new cen­tury. Guess what? The EU granted the rights and the Tory gov­ern­ment in the UK took them away by statute (in 1988). Which, in­ci­den­tally, rather re­futes the Brex­i­teer trope that the EU ‘im­poses’ its laws on our par­lia­ment.

So, as a com­poser of mu­sic that is dis­sem­i­nated all over the world I am ex­tremely con­cerned that my in­ter­ests will not be pro­tected by our own gov­ern­ment. His­tory teaches us that Tories in gov­ern­ment, with some hon­ourable ex­cep­tions like for­mer arts min­is­ter Ed Vaizey MP, are more in­ter­ested in pro­tect­ing the ex­ploiters of cre­ative work than in the peo­ple who cre­ate it in the first place.

Mu­sic pub­lish­ing is of course a world­wide busi­ness but it has his­tor­i­cal roots in our ‘do­mes­tic mar­ket’ of Europe and like most – if not all – other Uk-based pub­lish­ers, mine are hav­ing to cre­ate a new hub on Euro­pean soil to cope with the im­pend­ing dis­rup­tion of their trade and the im­po­si­tion of tar­iffs and bor­der de­lays once we leave the cus­toms union and/or sin­gle mar­ket. This re­lo­ca­tion will cost a great deal of money that would oth­er­wise be spent on do­ing their job of pro­mot­ing and dis­tribut­ing the mu­sic of all of the com­posers whose work they pub­lish. And, in a round­about way, this money is partly my money, given that I am one of its earn­ing clients. Jobs will also flow out of the UK to their new hub. This is a tiny mi­cro­cosm of what busi­nesses in ev­ery sec­tor are cur­rently hav­ing to do be­cause of the com­ing cliffedge of with­drawal from the EU.

A flavour of this costly and to­tally un­nec­es­sary bur­den can be found in sev­eral re­cent news sto­ries, cov­er­ing a range of dif­fer­ent in­dus­tries and sec­tors.

Among the most re­cent was a warn­ing this month from Bri­tain’s fi­nan­cial tech­nol­ogy sec­tor that Brexit is caus­ing a short­age of soft­ware en­gi­neers and prompt­ing some firms to open of­fices else­where in the EU.

I write books. I’ve writ­ten two on the his­tory of mu­sic that – in their mod­est way – are best-sell­ers in their field (I know I’m not ex­actly JK Rowl­ing or Dan Brown, but they have been trans­lated into many lan­guages and are still on sale through­out the world). Why would Brexit af­fect th­ese sales? Well, sur­prise sur­prise, the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of our leav­ing the EU are likely to im­pact badly on British pub­lish­ers for all sorts of rea­sons. I am guess­ing the av­er­age book-reader (and ref­er­en­dum voter) has been to­tally un­aware of th­ese is­sues.

British pub­lish­ers face a loom­ing fight with their Amer­i­can coun­ter­parts over sales in the rest of Europe. For decades, the British have had this mar­ket to them­selves, sell­ing English-lan­guage edi­tions of books in the EU, help­ing to turn the UK into the largest book ex­porter in the world, with to­tal sales equiv­a­lent to £4.8bn per year, ac­cord­ing to the Pub­lish­ers As­so­ci­a­tion. Just over half of that rev­enue came from ex­ports, and the big­gest ex­port mar­ket is Europe.

Ac­cess to this mar­ket, with­out tar­iffs or the se­ri­ous com­pe­ti­tion that comes with be­ing part of EU, has been a fi­nan­cial boon. Brexit is likely to trig­ger a US as­sault on this mar­ket.

The nub of the prob­lem is that the dif­fer­ence to an au­thor when we are no longer in­side the EU is the dif­fer­ence be­tween earn­ing about a £1 roy­alty from the sale of a hard­back, and earn­ing a 10p roy­alty from the same book. Quite a big dif­fer­ence. Na­dine Dor­ries is an au­thor her­self. I won­der if she knows that the re-con­fig­ur­ing of British books as

‘ex­port’ to the EU rather than ‘home mar­ket’, or that the UK will have to fight off com­pe­ti­tion from the much big­ger US pub­lish­ing houses for the sale of English­language books in Europe, is one of the con­se­quences of the Brexit she es­pouses?

I have been mak­ing doc­u­men­tary films for the past 30 years or so. Film­ing with crews and equip­ment is rel­a­tively straight­for­ward any­where within the EU. No car­nets to fill, no bor­der de­lays, no bribes to pay cus­toms of­fi­cials to re­lease valu­able ma­te­ri­als. But film­ing in China, the USA or the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion, to name just three ter­ri­to­ries, as any film­maker will tell you, is an­other story al­to­gether. We used to be world lead­ers in doc­u­men­tary mak­ing. We are about to make life vastly more dif­fi­cult for this sec­tor. Who will speak up for TV pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies in the ne­go­ti­a­tions over our new bor­der con­trols? That’s right: no-one.

I write mu­si­cals, sev­eral of which have been put on in the West End. Most of them have been pro­duced in other

coun­tries and there have been Euro­pean lan­guage ver­sions of sev­eral. For some rea­son, and I am hugely grate­ful, my mu­si­cals have been par­tic­u­larly well served in the Nether­lands and Bel­gium. In re­cent years, the pool of high­ly­trained, highly-skilled per­form­ers that has en­abled Lon­don to be­come a pre-em­i­nent global cen­tre for mu­si­cal theatre has been en­riched by a flow of Euro­pean ac­tors, dancers and singers, not to men­tion de­sign­ers, light­ing de­sign­ers, scenic artists and chore­og­ra­phers.

I am de­lighted to say quite a few of them are Dutch, so it’s not been an en­tirely one-way street. Once free­dom of move­ment has gone, this part of the work­force will likely leave or be forced to leave, as has al­ready been the case in many other sec­tors, es­pe­cially health. Who amongst the three mil­lion EU cit­i­zens who have set­tled in the UK and whose work and skills hugely con­trib­ute to our so­ci­ety would now trust Theresa May’s hol­low re­as­sur­ances about their sta­tus and rights post-brexit, now she has been re­vealed as the chief ar­chi­tect of the strip­ping of rights from the

Win­drush fam­i­lies? This shock­ing, re­pug­nant state of af­fairs is not an ad­min­is­tra­tive er­ror but the re­sult of a se­ries of de­lib­er­ate, tar­geted poli­cies that May boasted about to suc­ces­sive Tory con­fer­ences, and whose anti-mi­grant zeal has only been equalled by Am­ber Rudd as Home Sec­re­tary.

Now they have been caught red-handed in the busi­ness of de­stroy­ing lives they have sud­denly stopped boast­ing about their ag­gres­sive poli­cies, and are busy try­ing to shift blame, as they have for the no­to­ri­ous ‘Go Home’ vans. If I were a prime min­is­ter of any other coun­try in the world right now, never mind an EU ne­go­tia­tor, I would al­ready have con­cluded that not one word the UK Prime Min­is­ter ut­ters is trust­wor­thy or hon­ourable.

And in any case, in an en­vi­ron­ment stoked with xeno­pho­bia, flames de­lib­er­ately fanned by politi­cians to get their Brexit prize across the line, why would EU cit­i­zens want to stay? Why not go some­where more wel­com­ing of their skills, like the large num­bers of sci­en­tists and re­searchers con­sid­er­ing mov­ing to other coun­tries as I write?

A re­port ear­lier this year from the UCL Cen­tre for Global Higher Ed­u­ca­tion found Euro­pean re­searchers were turn­ing away from the UK in re­sponse to Brexit, with in­sti­tu­tions on the con­ti­nent sens­ing an op­por­tu­nity to ‘poach’ tal­ent from the UK.

It iden­ti­fied Ger­many as one po­ten­tial ‘win­ner’, and also found one Dan­ish univer­sity plan­ning a ‘re­cruit­ment tour’ of the UK, as well as ev­i­dence that in­sti­tu­tions in the Nether­lands were look­ing to hire staff from the UK.

Sep­a­rately, re­search in­di­cates that Bri­tain is al­ready fac­ing prob­lems fill­ing se­nior po­si­tions at life science com­pa­nies, with a de­cline in the num­ber of for­eign can­di­dates for posts.

Never mind even re­searchers and the ex­cep­tion­ally skilled, we are as a coun­try de­pen­dent on tourism, aren’t we? Why would for­eign­ers want to visit a coun­try that is so churned with loathing for them that in­no­cent vis­i­tors are at­tacked on the tube sim­ply for speak­ing their mother tongue, as in a re­cent in­ci­dent re­ported to po­lice ear­lier this month?

Th­ese are the self-same vis­i­tors that I’d like to come to see my next West End show. So if you are ask­ing me if Brexit and its as­so­ci­ated xeno­pho­bic poi­son will make a dif­fer­ence to my in­dus­try, the an­swer is an em­phatic yes, it will, a big and bad dif­fer­ence.

The theatre in­dus­try (and it is a big contributor to tourism) will find the next few years ex­tremely chal­leng­ing. An Arts Coun­cil Eng­land re­port pub­lished in the af­ter­math of the ref­er­en­dum re­vealed that “17% of the earned in­come of theatre or­gan­i­sa­tions and 16% of that of dance or­gan­i­sa­tions was gen­er­ated by in­ter­na­tional ac­tiv­ity – more than the sec­tor-wide av­er­age. The De­part­ment of Cul­ture, Me­dia and Sport’s fig­ures show £362 mil­lion (just over 56% of all ex­ports) from the ‘mu­sic, per­form­ing and vis­ual arts’ sec­tor go to Europe”. EU funds for the arts are an­other con­cern. “EU struc­tural funds have helped build and re­build the theatre in­fra­struc­ture of the UK (Sage Gateshead, Liver­pool Every­man) and Cre­ative Europe has helped in­sti­gate – and lu­bri­cate – in­ter­na­tional col­lab­o­ra­tions across the con­ti­nent, wrote James Doeser in The Stage. Who, right now, thinks that the UK gov­ern­ment will fill th­ese fund­ing gaps, and all those other gaps in other sec­tors like sci­en­tific re­search or agri­cul­ture?

At the mo­ment, the theatre in­dus­try is in fact wor­ry­ing about its light­ing – tung­sten light­ing to be pre­cise – which is threat­ened with be­ing banned if a pro­posed EU di­rec­tive be­comes manda­tory. Right now, as par­tic­i­pat­ing mem­bers of the EU, we can use our voices to have this pro­posed law mod­i­fied or halted; the in­dus­try is lob­by­ing to give theatre an ex­emp­tion from the pro­posed ban and Lon­don Labour MEP Seb Dance, who sits on the rel­e­vant Euro­pean Par­lia­ment en­vi­ron­ment com­mit­tee, is ac­tively mak­ing the case, in per­son, on be­half of our in­dus­try. (In truth, there are co­gent and well-ar­gued en­vi­ron­men­tal rea­sons why tung­sten lights should be phased out for all our sakes’; it’s not just car­i­ca­ture ‘Brus­sels Bu­reau­crats’ in­ter­fer­ing for the hell of it; were it not for theatre’s par­tic­u­lar needs it is a good idea.) In a few months’ time, we will have to ac­cept this law whether we like it or not and we will have no rep­re­sen­ta­tion, no MEPS like Seb Dance, no civil ser­vants and no min­is­ters to make our case, such is the na­ture of the tran­si­tion deal be­ing of­fered willy-nilly to the British pub­lic as a re­sult of the in-fight­ing, fan­tasy prom­ises and sheer in­com­pe­tence of the gov­ern­ment.

We are be­ing frog-marched towards a con­di­tion far less ‘sovereign’ than any­thing we have ex­pe­ri­enced as a na­tion in re­cent decades. We will have no power and no voice while the EU makes the rules we live by, rules we have been mak­ing and shap­ing as mem­bers for 40 years. Why on earth are we there­fore leav­ing, if one of the rea­sons for vot­ing Leave in June 2016 was ‘greater sovereignty’?

Fi­nally, and be­ing British I am coy say­ing so, I am an ex­pert in my field.

Yes, that word. The word that Brex­i­teers have grown to hate. Even if the some­what fascis­tic urge to at­tack ex­perts, academics, in­tel­lec­tu­als, judges and civil ser­vants were to mirac­u­lously ebb af­ter the mo­ment of de­par­ture (and all his­tor­i­cal prece­dent points to the fact

that ugly pop­ulist poli­cies and the iden­ti­fy­ing of scape­goats and ‘en­e­mies of the peo­ple’ ends in catas­tro­phe), the dam­age is al­ready be­ing done to our so­ci­ety. Open, out­ward-look­ing, pro­gres­sive so­ci­eties that cel­e­brate di­ver­sity are the ones where cul­tural ex­change hap­pens and where it thrives. It has been one of the high­lights of my ca­reer to have con­trib­uted mu­si­cally to the open­ing cer­e­mony of the Lon­don Games in 2012. That in­clu­sive, con­fi­dent Bri­tain has been mor­tally weak­ened by the in­tol­er­ance and big­otry that Brexit has le­git­imised. Even if we re­cover, in time, from this pe­riod of con­flict and di­vi­sion, we will be less likely to be seen as a wel­com­ing cul­tural hub for some con­sid­er­able time. Un­less you imag­ine that peo­ple from other coun­tries do not read what is hap­pen­ing here, or do not see it on their TVS.

Mu­sic’s his­tory is the story of cul­tural ex­change and open­ness, of the con­ver­gence and flow of gen­res, styles and peo­ples. Mu­sic has a long his­tory of re­nounc­ing racism and of build­ing bridges be­tween com­mu­ni­ties. Mu­sic has thrived in mixed so­ci­eties that value ed­u­ca­tion, that re­spect knowl­edge and the in­tel­lect, that en­joy dif­fer­ence, that cul­ti­vate an ap­pre­ci­a­tion of beauty, that give space for ex­per­i­ment and en­cour­age the young (who are in any case the prin­ci­pal agents of our world-class

pre-em­i­nence in pop­u­lar mu­sic). In what way is the sup­press­ing of the over­whelm­ing de­sire of those un­der-35 to stay in the EU a recipe for a har­mo­nious fu­ture? How is that go­ing to work, in terms of so­cial co­he­sion, I won­der?

Even if the eco­nomic ar­gu­ments for this folly were sound, the de­prav­ity of the ‘hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment’ it has brought in its wake, the race-hate, the bul­ly­ing, the tar­geted gov­ern­men­tal cal­lous­ness and breath-tak­ing min­is­te­rial ar­ro­gance would be enough to ren­der it an ex­per­i­ment bound to fail on a so­cial level alone.

A stench of re­crim­i­na­tion and in­tim­i­da­tion has be­gun to seep from the pro­nounce­ments of Brexit spokes­peo­ple in re­cent months, from John Red­wood’s threat to ‘pun­ish’ busi­nesses for speak­ing out against the dan­gers of Brexit to James Clev­erly’s tweeted com­par­i­son of (bril­liant) satirical com­edy writer David Sch­nei­der to his dog, for dar­ing to ques­tion the eco­nomic case for Brexit. Elected politi­cians who stoop to threats and in­sults de­mean their of­fice and pub­lic dis­course in gen­eral. Is this the Bri­tain we should ex­pect af­ter Brexit?

The chances of our plen­ti­ful, dy­namic cre­ative arts sur­viv­ing in this vile at­mos­phere, time can only tell, af­ter all, Shostakovich sur­vived Stalin. But pros­per­ing, ex­pand­ing, bloom­ing? The lessons from his­tory are not en­cour­ag­ing.

Pho­tos: PA

British ath­letes en­ter the sta­dium dur­ing the open­ing cer­e­mony of the Lon­don 2012 Olympics

Left, di­rec­tor Danny Boyle

*All are lat­est avail­able fig­ures, from The Cre­ative In­dus­tries

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