Boris plans to destroy London’s cultural life


by Sunny
11th August, 2008 at 8:04 pm    

Here are a list of popular festivals in London that currently receive financial support from the Mayor’s office or the London Development Agency.: Chinese New Year; St Patricks Day; St George’s Day; Vaisakhi; Africa Day; Baishakhi Mela; Pride and Soho Pride; Rise; Carnival del Pueblo; London Mela; Notting Hill Carnival; Liberty – disability arts festival; Thames Festival; Trafalgar Square summer festival; the Jewish Simcha on the Square; Chanukkah; Black History Month events; Diwali; Eid; Celebrating Sanctuary (refugee festival); Capital Age; Festival of Youth Arts.

Unsurprisingly, now Boris wants to cut funding from them all so they can rely on the businesses to support them. The guy is adamant on making London lifeless again. Meanwhile his office will spend over a quarter of a million on head-hunting alone.
This is just a start.


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  1. Rumbold — on 11th August, 2008 at 8:09 pm  

    Boris is wasting too much money on personnel. But it doesn’t follow that he should waste it on festivals instead. Let people pay for their own days out- they can organise things the way they like, charge what they want, and the ratepayers don’t have to foot the bill. Why should money be spent on festivals when there is a shortage of essential government services (not enough domestic violence refuges, not enough money for NHS drugs etc.)? It is immoral to spend public money on festivals when it is needed elsewhere. Do you think that culture would wither and die if the taxpayer didn’t prop it up?

  2. Leon — on 11th August, 2008 at 8:13 pm  

    Well would you look at that Boris ‘I’m not racist, most of my friends are wogs’ Johnson is cutting funding for pretty much anything that celebrates London diverse communities.

  3. Sunny — on 11th August, 2008 at 8:19 pm  

    Let people pay for their own days out- they can organise things the way they like, charge what they want, and the ratepayers don’t have to foot the bill.

    God Rumbold, when will you ever get that the market and individuals cannot always organise cultural events?

    No doubt private businesses should also run the British Museum, National Gallery and everything else?

  4. Rumbold — on 11th August, 2008 at 8:24 pm  

    Sunny:

    “God Rumbold, when will you ever get that the market and individuals cannot always organise cultural events?

    No doubt private businesses should also run the British Museum, National Gallery and everything else?”

    Businesses do not equate to the entire non-state sector. A small group or community organisation might want to organise a festival. I would urge them on, but I see no reason why taxpayers’ money should be given to them. Nor do I see why taxpayers should subsidise my pleasures. You have fallen into the trap of coming up with a theory, and then fitting the evidence around it. You assume that because the state is funding these events, this shows that a free market wouldn’t. But you have forgotten crowding out. Festivals are not a public good.

  5. Nav — on 11th August, 2008 at 8:41 pm  

    You have fallen into the trap of coming up with a theory, and then fitting the evidence around it. You assume that because the state is funding these events, this shows that a free market wouldn’t. But you have forgotten crowding out. Festivals are not a public good.

    And you’re supposed to be an Economics graduate, Mr Hundal…?

  6. The Common Humanist — on 11th August, 2008 at 8:41 pm  

    Rumbold,

    Yeah, you tell em conservative, let the little people eat cake and beg from businesses. Fuck em, working class worms……. how dare they not have a middle calss income and be able to afford to pay for such things….. how dare the GOVERNMENT help poorer citizens enjoy a festival…..I mean the nerve? Why won’t someone for once think of the MIDDLE CLASSES! They have swimming pools and private summer schools to pay for…..Next…next they’ll be telling me Government is for all the people and not just right leaning muppets…..the country is going to hell in a handbasket…..etc etc etc etc etc

    [Brought to you by Right Wing Comment Generator]

  7. Nav — on 11th August, 2008 at 8:48 pm  

    Yes because we all know how poor those Jews are…

  8. Amrit — on 11th August, 2008 at 8:48 pm  

    I have to agree with Sunny. Rumbold, I think you’re being deliberately naive here. The events listed above are much more than ‘days out’. How the hell can you call Gay Pride, for instance, a ‘day out’? It simplifies the whole message of what it’s about *shakes head*.

    You may think me a deluded left-winger, but I think we need these events and that they do promote community cohesion. The London Mela, for instance, and Vaisakhi, are two of the rare instances where the British Asian community really opens itself up to others.

    These events serve as a kind of amnesty, the way I see it – a point where people decide to get over themselves and succumb to curiosity. I think that such a thing is EXACTLY what we need in times like this, where misunderstanding of ‘others’ is rife.

    Culture should NOT be determined entirely by the market, I don’t care what anyone says! And if you want to complain about money-wasting, why not target other instances of money-wasting? Lord knows there are many, not least Actis/CDC, for example…

  9. Avi Cohen — on 11th August, 2008 at 8:49 pm  

    “Festivals are not a public good.”

    They are a public good and allow people who may not normally mix with that culture to do so. They bring much benefit including cohesion, inclusiveness, understanding and can help with community relations.

    Festivals also bring in money as people come and see them in London.

    London spent years building itself up to catch up with major European Cities and now all that work is being torn down by a bunch of people that fail to look at the greater benefit of culture.

    The FreeMarket can’t be used to drive important cultural events and neiter can communities.

    Also culture can be a reason for business to come to London thus earning greater income for London. Only in London do you have an Islamic Financial Centre of Europe, a Major Jewish Museum, Diwali Festivals and so on which brings business people and tourists of all those communitues and more. Why????

    Because they feel comfortable.

    If it ain’t broke don’t fix it and worst of all don’t cut off funding for it.

    Thatcher tried this and the mess with transportation lingers to this day.

    Cultural Events bring huge benefits and long may they continue.

  10. Avi Cohen — on 11th August, 2008 at 8:51 pm  

    “Yes because we all know how poor those Jews are…”

    Yes all those stereotypes are coming out again. Where the bloody hell does disgusting comment fit into the thread?

  11. Avi Cohen — on 11th August, 2008 at 8:57 pm  

    BTW Rumbold I’d rather see my taxpayers money spent on culture than that useless self-serving lot that Boris came from. Why the hell do I have to pay for an MP to have multiple houses and foriegn junkets and expenses and pay their salary after they get booted out?

    Why should I pay ofr a load of consultants to be at City Hall earnign massive salaries for depriving London of its best features.

    I’d rather people enjoyed themselves with my money.

  12. Nav — on 11th August, 2008 at 9:00 pm  

    They are a public good and allow people who may not normally mix with that culture to do so. They bring much benefit including cohesion, inclusiveness, understanding and can help with community relations.

    Pray tell how festivals are a public good if you can make them rivalrous and can exclude people from attending?

    Yes all those stereotypes are coming out again. Where the bloody hell does disgusting comment fit into the thread?

    Oh boo fucking hoo.

    And the post I was responding to wasn’t guilty of perpetuating stereotypes about the middle classes?!

  13. Nav — on 11th August, 2008 at 9:00 pm  

    Self serving?

    Have you even considered how much Red Ken’s cronies cost London tax-payers?!

  14. Rumbold — on 11th August, 2008 at 9:02 pm  

    The Common Humanist:

    Well, if you think that dustbin men and nurses should subsidise the middle classes’ days out, then fair enough.

    Amrit:

    People always say that these festivals promote community cohesian, because that is how they can get funding, but do they really? Is there any empirical evidence that community cohesian is enhanced by state-sponsored cultural events?

    Avi Cohen:

    If people want to come to these festivals, by all means. Let them pay for it. And I agree that MPs and hangers on get too much of our money. But the debate is about funding festivals specifically.

  15. Rumbold — on 11th August, 2008 at 9:10 pm  

    Amrit has given us the example of the Gay Pride march. I do not know whether it means a lot to a lot of people, but let us presume for a moment that it does. If it means a great deal to people, then surely they would be willing to contribute to its running costs. Why not find sponsors, or get be to volunteer to help out? Why does the state have any business with it at all?

    This attitude that only the state can provide culture is one of the things that is so damaging to society. We give up thinking for ourselves and just let the state decide everything for us.

  16. Avi Cohen — on 11th August, 2008 at 9:11 pm  

    Nav – “Pray tell how festivals are a public good if you can make them rivalrous and can exclude people from attending?”

    Because the ones that are well run are open to all and create a lot of good. Have tyou ever been to these events to know that they exclude people – I’d say the opposite they bring people in.

    To make money you have to put money in. People come to London for its culture and if it isn’t there then they will go elsewhere.

    “Oh boo fucking hoo.”

    There is a difference about talking about the middle class and then tainting a community with a slur.

    Rumbold – “If people want to come to these festivals, by all means. Let them pay for it. And I agree that MPs and hangers on get too much of our money. But the debate is about funding festivals specifically.”

    They are paying for it through taxation, council tax etc. Why ask them to keep paying over and over again.

    The culture is what makes people invest in places like London, New York etc. If you make people pay for cultural events they die out and then people go to Paris, NY etc.

    You have to have culture to have business come in.

    If London got it so wrong then why are Paris, Berlin etc. frantically trying to catch up with London’s Culture?

  17. marvin — on 11th August, 2008 at 9:13 pm  

    Boris plans to destroy London’s cultural life

    Is of an extreme Daily Mirror-esque headline! What’s wrong with encouraging businesses to help sponsor and fund? There’s wealth there, and there’s mutual backs to scratch. Ken relied far too much on London being his fiefdom and the tax payers money he lavished around his pet ideas. That’s when he wasn’t swanning off in Venezuela!

    Economically, as well all know, we’re not in such a great place as of a few years ago. Families pay £1,400 more a year for their food than 12 months ago.

    I don’t think funding should be stopped, but it’s sensible to review Ken’s policies seeing as he’s wasted millions of tax payers money already.

  18. Rumbold — on 11th August, 2008 at 9:14 pm  

    Avi Cohen:

    “They are paying for it through taxation, council tax etc. Why ask them to keep paying over and over again.”

    Because taxpayers’ money is supposed to be used for essential services, not jollies.

    “The culture is what makes people invest in places like London, New York etc. If you make people pay for cultural events they die out and then people go to Paris, NY etc.

    You have to have culture to have business come in.”

    Business comes to London because that is where the money is. The money comes to London because of the attractive regulatory climate (compared to New York). Culture doesn’t die if the state closes the public purse.

    “If London got it so wrong then why are Paris, Berlin etc. frantically trying to catch up with London’s Culture?”

    To get their mates on the payroll.

  19. Avi Cohen — on 11th August, 2008 at 9:17 pm  

    “This attitude that only the state can provide culture is one of the things that is so damaging to society. We give up thinking for ourselves and just let the state decide everything for us.”

    Nonsense – utter nonsense.

    Last year one of the most successful events in Europe was The Sacred Exhibition in London. This was put on by The British Library which is paid for by all of us.

    The event brought in huge crowds all spending money in London. It was talked about as an event in London across the world thereby promoting London. This type of advertising you can’t buy.

    Even the free markets biggest economy the USA is into promoting culture so to say London shouldn’t do it is nonsense.

    The cultural events bring income to London because people come to London and spend money thereby keepign the economy ticking over.

    They don’t go to new towns for that.

    When London was deprived of cultural money then people went elsewhere.

  20. Rumbold — on 11th August, 2008 at 9:24 pm  

    Avi Cohen:

    I agree that tourists (as opposed to businesses) are attracted by culture. So charge them for it. London will be a centre for business so long as businesses find it worth their while to establish themselves here. Companies don’t list themselves on the LSE so that their executives can watch the Socialist Interperative Dance Troupe in Islington. They list themselves because of the money and regulatory climate. London is also the centre of government in a centralised state, and these two factors combined ensures that it will have no problem attracting money.

  21. Nav — on 11th August, 2008 at 9:25 pm  

    Avi:

    Because the ones that are well run are open to all and create a lot of good. Have tyou ever been to these events to know that they exclude people – I’d say the opposite they bring people in.

    To make money you have to put money in. People come to London for its culture and if it isn’t there then they will go elsewhere.

    No matter how well run these events they are not inclusive and serve to divide communities rather than bring us together- am I, a British born Sikh- going to feel comfortable going to a Muslim event in London?

    No! And how static is it to band together and beat a common drum even though you might not share a jif in common with someone attending the same event?!

    Why not, instead of appeasing people to win votes- actually use that money to fund useful endeavours- like crumbling schools?

    I beg to differ: people come to London for a multitude of reasons: my parents didn’t come here because of the culture inclusiveness they felt London could offer but because they could make more money in London than in India.

  22. fugstar — on 11th August, 2008 at 9:34 pm  

    i think you’d feel welcome at eid in the square, i want you to be. just like you would in south asia.

    As communities become better funded i dont think govt funding will be all that much at the forefront, but it would be nice to have some continuity in london policy nonetheless.

  23. Avi Cohen — on 11th August, 2008 at 9:35 pm  

    Nav – “am I, a British born Sikh- going to feel comfortable going to a Muslim event in London?”

    Does it only work one way or do Sikh events make Muslism feel comfortable attending?

    Schools need to be funded of course but without culture then society simply becomes faceless.

    Without being able to display culture how would your community be able to reach out to the wider community? Why should the wider community have to pay to see your events?

    Thats the point of having cultural events.

    Rumbold – I think you’ll find that cultural events go hand in hand with business. If it didn’t why is ther such demand for corporate hospitality at cultural and sports events?

    Business can’t and won’t pay for everything so to get business you have to have an attractive atmosphere which is where culture comes in.

    At the end of the day major financial centres are copying the likes of London and Paris. Dubai is a prime example.

    You’d be suprised at how often people want to make a deal in a city where they can enjoy themselves.

    You don’t see execs rushing to a poor caribean island to make deals even if they are registered there.

  24. Tom — on 11th August, 2008 at 9:37 pm  

    Two hypotheses, which I don’t think are particularly arguable:

    a) Cultural events benefit from a certain traditional quality – they become more popular and better run the more settled they are – it helps when they happen every year at the same time every year. Christmas, Last Night Of The Proms, the Mela, St. Paddy’s, Notting Hill Carnival, Edinburgh Festival etc. etc. People seem to like to have the year marked out like this, and it also helps things like police planning, transport system shutdowns etc.

    b) Funding from business and charity goes down during recessions.

    Therefore I conclude that if you don’t at least entertain the prospect of topping up funding from public cash, some events (probably the ones just establishing) will die off as the pot of private money shrinks with economic downturns. Once they’re dead, the cost of bringing them back will be higher than the costs of keeping them running.

    I further conclude that cutting public funding right *now* will be an extremely effective way to kill things – not many businesses are going to want to *increase* its charitable funding over the next year, for heaven’s sake – there’s a recession about to hit.

    So yes, Boris is going to destroy parts of London’s cultural life. He may not directly intend to, but that’s the effect – he’s prioritising demonstrating his value-for-money credentials at the next council tax round.

    This is what happens when you vote Conservative, of course – they’re quite willing to turn up and wear a silly hat for the cameras, but when it comes down to cold, hard cash you always get the shaft.

    However, this has never happened in London before under the current government arrangements – the Mayor has a nice, high profile and is expected to turn up occasionally to things. I do hope he can hold his own in an angry crowd…

    Also, surely there’s scope for an ideologically-pure right-on privately funded ‘Up Yours, Boris’ festival? Chequebooks out!

  25. Ravi Naik — on 11th August, 2008 at 9:39 pm  

    If Boris is channeling the money from festivals to waste it on something else, then he should be ashamed of himself. However, if he is investing this money on public and social causes, OR reducing the council tax (which is too high) then I am all for it. Festivals – unlike social welfare – can be paid by itself through sponsors and by people who attend those festivals – I see little point in me and everyone else paying the bill for creating points of entertainment.

  26. David — on 11th August, 2008 at 9:43 pm  

    I see you neglect to mention with your example of how ‘this is the start’ that Boris has said he’ll continue to fund the main Gay Pride parade, but has decided, rather reasonably, a similar, smaller event a mere six weeks later is (to be generous, since it appears to be a state sponsored pub crawl round Soho) some duplication, and that the money will be better spent on educational programmes. Good for Boris.

  27. Sunny — on 11th August, 2008 at 9:44 pm  

    And you’re supposed to be an Economics graduate, Mr Hundal…?

    Not supposed. I am. If you have an economics point to make, let’s hear it. I just dont agree with the idea that just because the govt funds other orgs to run some cultural festivals, it ‘crowds out’ others. That may apply to market forces but not necessarily cultural events.

  28. BenSix — on 11th August, 2008 at 9:49 pm  

    The money is apparently going to be used to target homophobia in schools, so Richard Adam Smith either missed that information or is being a tad dishonest.

    Ben

  29. Amrit — on 11th August, 2008 at 10:18 pm  

    What Tom said.

    Rumbold, I think that you and Ravi have a point, but it does seem ridiculous that Boris is pulling money from festivals and putting it into head-hunting and the like. If he’s funding the targeting of homophobia, well, that’s great and I just hope it’s used effectively.

    I looked for empirical evidence (via Google, haha), but I didn’t find it, sorry! (Isn’t that a rare sight on these pages, an admittance of defeat?! I’m making up for all the smackdowns that have been going on recently). I have to ask though, just how much the state pays towards these festivals – I think calling them ‘state-sponsored’ is a bit much unless most of the money is paid by the govt.

    I also think that people probably DO try and pay for events themselves as much as possible – I imagine getting govt. funding is a fairly difficult process (probably to discourage timewasters) and so it’s only when people REALLY NEED extra support.

    However, I’m no authority on any of this. :-)

  30. MixTogether — on 11th August, 2008 at 10:33 pm  

    It is hard to argue that events like Rise [Against Racism] do anything to challenge racism. They are at best preaching to the converted, and at worst an exclusively leftie day out which takes no account of anti racists who don’t happen to be lefties.

    Nor do they do anything to challenge the rampant racism among minorty communities.

    As such, what help are they really in promoting an anti-racist message?

    Perhaps if they needed to interest people instead of just providing a freebie, they would take better account of the real range of people they are supposed to represent and speak to.

  31. Tom — on 11th August, 2008 at 10:47 pm  

    “What Tom said.”

    Thanks – I’m not being entirely hypothetical here. I’m on our school PTA, so I know from personal experience that
    a) things get better the more experience you have organising them (we have big books of How To Organise Events and some of the ladies have three or four years, which is great for complete innocents like myself),
    b) getting at team of volunteers together is harder than keeping them together – things get momentum, which has a value quite independent of money,
    c) if you can demonstrate a track record you get better funding options but,
    d) at the moment, businesses are definitely cutting back funding frivolous things like local schools.

    On the last point, our main sponsor is unfortunately an estate agent, so we’d be foolish to expect to be able to do as much next year as this, and something’s going to have to give. Obviously there’s not a lot of point asking either our nice Tory council nor our nice Tory Mayor for cash to help us keep the momentum running through the next year or so, is there? I suppose we could rebrand the Christmas Fair as an anti-knife crime event…

  32. JuggyD — on 11th August, 2008 at 11:35 pm  

    Juding from my own experience, i’ve witnessed goverment funded festivals, such as the basakhi melas, and commericaliy funded festivals such as Zee Festival. To be honest there is very little difference.

  33. MixTogether — on 12th August, 2008 at 12:05 am  

    Are you THE Juggy D? :)

  34. Leon — on 12th August, 2008 at 12:09 am  

    LOL @ all the surprise that Rumbold is a Tory! Hehe quite amusing.

    Amrit #8, your comment answers your question to me on the thread about the meet up.

    This waste argument in favour of the ‘free’ market is a joke, these grants are a fucking drop in the ocean compared to the billions the market wastes.

    Quite frankly those who want to start with the whole arts shouldn’t be state funded because it has no value should be demanding a stop to subsidising the arms industry if they care that much about value for tax payers…get your priorities right ffs.

  35. Sunny — on 12th August, 2008 at 12:15 am  

    Juding from my own experience, i’ve witnessed goverment funded festivals, such as the basakhi melas, and commericaliy funded festivals such as Zee Festival. To be honest there is very little difference.

    Erm, apart from the fact that you have to pay to go to the Zee Mela, that its indoors in a hall just full of commercial shops, and while the Gunnesbury Mela is outdoors, free, has a much wider range of cultural music and events on display.

  36. Ravi Naik — on 12th August, 2008 at 12:26 am  

    Quite frankly those who want to start with the whole arts shouldn’t be state funded because it has no value should be demanding a stop to subsidising the arms industry if they care that much about value for tax payers…get your priorities right ffs.

    1) Nobody is making a case that arts shouldn’t be funded at all.
    2) But even if someone did, it does not imply that one is not against tax payers money being used in funding arms race, or stupid wars like in Iraq. But the thread is not about Iraq or arms race.
    3) I am not convinced that all those festivals can be classified as “art” – some are mainly light entertainment for people to have fun and a good time. The kind of event one normally pays, and can easily get sponsors.

  37. Nyrone — on 12th August, 2008 at 12:41 am  

    This is really shameful.
    The funding from the GLA is the lifeblood for these wonderful and important festivals to continue.
    We need them now more than ever.

    How do we collectively complain about this?

  38. Leon — on 12th August, 2008 at 12:47 am  

    Nobody is making a case that arts shouldn’t be funded at all.

    Mate, don’t put words in my mouth, I clearly said state funding.

  39. Amrit — on 12th August, 2008 at 1:09 am  

    ‘On the last point, our main sponsor is unfortunately an estate agent, so we’d be foolish to expect to be able to do as much next year as this, and something’s going to have to give.’

    Mind if I ask what you’re trying to organise, Tom? If it goes through, I would totally be up for coming and spending some cash or donating even a little to help out. I’ve felt the cold shoulder of your lovely local council myself, as you know… *smiles grimly*

    ‘Amrit #8, your comment answers your question to me on the thread about the meet up’

    Je te remercie beaucoup *huge grin*.

    Haha, I knew Rumbold was a Tory, honest guvnah! I just forgot because of the meet-up, ’cause I liked him and got on well with him (trans: I bought his attention with pretzels). In ‘right-wing’, you could say that he ‘got under my skin’, haha. Actually, wait, that sounds horrible, like an injection or somesuch.

    You and Tom are saying all that I don’t know how to on this. I suppose I should be glad that BoJo hasn’t KILLED these festivals, at the very least! I thought the Conservatives were about conservation. I didn’t realise that just meant conservation of money… although for what, or whom exactly, is a convenient mystery.

    Nyrone – I’d join your collective complaint in a heartbeat. Btw, do you have a website or summat? I’d like to be able to keep up with you after the meet-up, but I forgot to ask!

    OK, I have to shut up and leave now before this thread makes me lose my mind.

  40. Harry — on 12th August, 2008 at 4:33 am  

    I want to make the following points:

    (1) By stating that the free market cannot always replace government, Sonny is making a valid point that an economist would understand.

    There are theoretical assumptions (and I can tell you what they are, if you really want know!), which imply that an equilibrium which is socially optimal can also be reached as a competitive outcome. But those theoretical assumptions do not hold in the real world.

    Some people, such as J Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize Winner in Economics, have made their careers by exploring what happens when socially optimal equilibria CANNOT be reached as competitive outcomes.

    (2) As Tom (24), points out, in the current economic climate, businesses are not likely to fund many festivals.

    (3) I believe that if Boris suddenly decides to cut funding to a festival, it will be very difficult for someone else to step in and do the necessary legwork needed to to get new sources of funding. In my opinion, what Boris plans to do to festivals will have the same impact on them that the credit crunch has had on the housing market.

    (4) Whether there are better ways of spending the money is hard to say, since many of the benefits of festivals are hard to measure in financial terms. How to you quantify a reduction in racial tension in terms of Pound Sterling?

  41. Tom — on 12th August, 2008 at 8:09 am  

    “Mind if I ask what you’re trying to organise, Tom?”

    One of the main ones (and about the most Boris-friendly, if you take him at face value, since it involves sport, discipline, school playing fields and ‘disadvantaged’ yoof) is a football tournament for kids from across west London. We’ve run two so far with the current team, the first one was very much a learning experience, the second one went off very well indeed (luckily, since I’d organised the match timetable). We’re trying to make it biannually.

    http://www.chiswickw4.com/default.asp?section=info&page=evgroveparktourn02.htm

    “This waste argument in favour of the ‘free’ market is a joke, these grants are a fucking drop in the ocean compared to the billions the market wastes.”

    I never did understand why it was more efficient to have six companies employing people to sell me electricity instead of one. Perhaps I just don’t ‘get it’.

  42. Sofia — on 12th August, 2008 at 10:15 am  

    “No matter how well run these events they are not inclusive and serve to divide communities rather than bring us together- am I, a British born Sikh- going to feel comfortable going to a Muslim event in London?”

    What a load of crap. I’m not sikh or hindu but have no problem attending festivals, weddings, or other such functions from these communities. I also work extensively in gurdwaras, temples and mosques as well as churches and welcome the contact it brings me with people from different backgrounds. Yes I sometimes get questioned about where I come from, but it has always been out of curiosity.

  43. halima — on 12th August, 2008 at 12:51 pm  

    Festivals are a public good .

    Some people say education shouldn’t be a public good either. Depends on your politics doesn’t it.

  44. fugstar — on 12th August, 2008 at 1:14 pm  

    How do we collectively complain about this?

    By organising a joint cultural party-themed strike and making london jump in the air for joy… (without state funding)

  45. chairwoman — on 12th August, 2008 at 1:36 pm  

    Sunny – why is Nav’s racist comment @ 7 still here please?

  46. Kismet Hardy — on 12th August, 2008 at 2:04 pm  

    It’s time we banned all festivals. You don’t see Barclays still employing Samuel L Jackson or the Halifax chap that looks like 80s crooner Junior singing anymore. This is because of what I like to call ‘The Credit Crunch’. And if the banks, who have loads of money, feel the pinch, than it’s crass for us to be having lots of celebrations rubbing poor people’s noses in. Because these celebrations tend to appeal to black people and, as we have seen in the case of samuel l jackson and the halifax chap that looks like 80s crooner Junior, black people are unemployed and don’t have the money to dance.

  47. Rumbold — on 12th August, 2008 at 2:54 pm  

    Sunny:

    “I just dont agree with the idea that just because the govt funds other orgs to run some cultural festivals, it ‘crowds out’ others. That may apply to market forces but not necessarily cultural events.”

    I am pretty sure that Eid, Diwali and other festivals have survived centuries without British taxpayers funding them.

    Amrit:

    I too think that Boris is wasting far too much money. But it doesn’t follow that he should waste it on something else instead.

    “I imagine getting govt. funding is a fairly difficult process (probably to discourage timewasters) and so it’s only when people REALLY NEED extra support.”

    Everyone wants government funding, because it means that they have to raise less money themselves.

    Leon:

    “Quite frankly those who want to start with the whole arts shouldn’t be state funded because it has no value should be demanding a stop to subsidising the arms industry if they care that much about value for tax payers…get your priorities right ffs.”

    Er… the debate is about funding for festivals. Nobody codemned arms subsidies because it wasn’t brought up. I don’t think that the state should subsidise the arms industry either.

    Tom:

    “I never did understand why it was more efficient to have six companies employing people to sell me electricity instead of one. Perhaps I just don’t ‘get it’.”.

    Competition in general drives prices down. For years we have enjoyed lower energy costs then Europe.

    Chairwoman:

    I think that Nav’s comment was supposed to be satire.

  48. chairwoman — on 12th August, 2008 at 3:24 pm  

    Rumbold

    I thought so initially but changed my mind as I read down the comments.

  49. chairwoman — on 12th August, 2008 at 3:25 pm  

    Ooh, I love that new edit buttony thingy!

  50. Rumbold — on 12th August, 2008 at 3:53 pm  

    Chairwoman:

    I think that we should wait for Nav to explain it.

  51. Ravi Naik — on 12th August, 2008 at 3:59 pm  

    Mate, don’t put words in my mouth, I clearly said state funding.

    Sorry, I apologise, I was talking in the context of state funding.

  52. Dalbir — on 12th August, 2008 at 4:41 pm  

    Groan. Just when I thought London couldn’t any greyer, we now want to take steps to limit some of the more colourful aspects of the city.

    I occasionally may attend a public vasaikhi event. Even if I don’t, I feel happy that some of my taxes go towards stuff like that. I don’t like the idea of more of my hard earned going into some bureacrat’s pocket.

    Ok, if funding is to be limited do some damn thing that promotes diversity and positively acknowledges the existence of the range of cultures that make this city.

  53. Jase — on 12th August, 2008 at 6:40 pm  

    Hopefully the The Nottinghill carnival wont get funding from bussinesses as well and then the end of carnival mugging shootings food poising and us poor sods who live there will be able to get in are properties without the sodding agro of the Northern police officers that attend the event and well have clean streets no fish heads lying for weeks on the roads and pavements

  54. Avi Cohen — on 12th August, 2008 at 7:15 pm  

    Rumbold – “Chairwoman:

    I think that we should wait for Nav to explain it.”

    With respect he already has which clearly indicates it wasn’t sattire. I challenged the remark and his reply was:

    “Oh boo fucking hoo.

    And the post I was responding to wasn’t guilty of perpetuating stereotypes about the middle classes?!”

    It is too late to delete the comment but we shouldn’t accept this type of ill informed labelling and stereotypes.

    If you recall not so long ago one person was left in tears and walked away from PP for some time after a similar dodgy comment. It isn’t acceptable.

  55. C Chandra — on 13th August, 2008 at 2:10 am  

    The ancient Romans also had free festivals to keep the plebs quiet – the policy was known as bread and circuses. Quite right to abolish all these expensive days out – London has too many genuine needs to fulfill, without squandering money on frivolity.

  56. The Common Humanist — on 13th August, 2008 at 10:09 am  

    Rumbold:

    You are missing the point. The Middle Classes are subsidising low income people to enjoy cultural events rather then the other way around.

    Sigh. I appreciate you think these people don’t deserve such events unless they are brought to you by McDonalds or something. Even bigger sigh.

    TCH

  57. MaidMarian — on 13th August, 2008 at 10:37 am  

    Isn’t everyone missing the rather more obvious cultural event in dire need of reigning in – an event that should never even have been considered.

    The catastrophe that is the 2012 Olympic Games.

    More generally there is scope for some cuts – especially from the endless tacky events that clutter Trafalgar Square – but London would be poorer were all to be lost. I will be honest and say I have no idea how that squares with efficiency though.

  58. Rumbold — on 13th August, 2008 at 10:48 am  

    The Common Humanist:

    “You are missing the point. The Middle Classes are subsidising low income people to enjoy cultural events rather then the other way around.”

    Do you have any evidence of this? Poor people pay taxes, and plenty of middle class people go to festivals.

    “Sigh. I appreciate you think these people don’t deserve such events unless they are brought to you by McDonalds or something. Even bigger sigh.”

    It is a question of scarce resources as much as anything. Should taxpayers’ money be spent on festivals, or something more important? I think that latter, but I find that few people agree with me. As C Chandra says, it is all about bread and circuses.

    MaidMarian:

    Agreed. I would refuse to hold the games, and give them back to the IOC, or else tell the organisers that they won’t get one drop of public money.

  59. MaidMarian — on 13th August, 2008 at 11:08 am  

    Rumbold (61) – Yep.

    2012 is such a bad idea on so many levels I don’t even know where to begin.

    The only upside is that I live in Watford, my council tax is safe (for the moment!)

  60. Tom — on 13th August, 2008 at 12:15 pm  

    Rumbold:
    “Competition in general drives prices down. For years we have enjoyed lower energy costs then Europe. ”

    3rd cheapest gas, 4th cheapest electricity, fastest rising prices, apparently.

    In the real world, however, competition is only as good as it’s allowed to be. In industries with high entry costs (like energy and transportation) and in the absence of both strong state regulation and effective dissemination of information (i.e. an independent, powerful, well-informed media) there’s nothing to stop cartels forming, as indeed happens.

    For example, see the latest Private Eye for an example where bus companies are raising prices claiming fuel prices are forcing them to. This is despite the fact (as revealed to shareholders) that they’ve sensibly hedged fuel costs, which are in any case a much smaller part of their cost base than one might think.

    The only place this hasn’t happened is, of course, in London, where there’s strong state control of ticket prices. Such price gouging can only happen in the, er, deregulated, competitive market outside London where there’s nobody in a powerful enough position to say ‘bollocks’.

    Naturally, this flies against Thatcherite orthodoxy, so free market fundies, believers in magic to a man, suffer a convenient bout of cognitive dissonance when presented with evidence of this sort of thing.

  61. Rumbold — on 13th August, 2008 at 12:45 pm  

    MaidMarian:

    “The only upside is that I live in Watford, my council tax is safe (for the moment!).”

    They will find a way to make you pay- they always do.

    Tom:

    “In the real world, however, competition is only as good as it’s allowed to be. In industries with high entry costs (like energy and transportation) and in the absence of both strong state regulation and effective dissemination of information (i.e. an independent, powerful, well-informed media) there’s nothing to stop cartels forming, as indeed happens.”

    I agree that in a very small number of industries (water being the prime example, but not gas or electricity), that natural monopolies necessitate either a state-run industry, or a privatised industry with very strong regulation. However, I am not sure that the bus example qualifies, as there are alternatives. The free market does not always deliver the best deal for consumers, nor does it claim to. The genuis of it lies in the fact that prices are largely determined by what consumers actually want (demand), and what companies are able to provide (supply), so high prices are not bad per se, as they just indicate a different interaction between demand and supply.

  62. bananabrain — on 13th August, 2008 at 3:47 pm  

    unfortunately, this just doesn’t cut the mustard as far as arts are concerned. as someone who has played (for a niggardly amount of money, frankly) at risea nd celebrating sanctuary, simcha on the square (unpaid) and scoop festival (not actually supported by the mayor at all), i can tell you that businesses will fund anything that enhances their brand. and nothing else. period. this means that it is easy to get your brand all over robbie williams playing in hyde park for £80 a ticket but absolutely nothing at all for grass-roots music from london’s communities. that’s the trouble with corporate sponsorship of the arts – you get the musical equivalent of ITV and the musical equivalent of winners of the x-factor.

    we have a real problem in london in terms of live music. there aren’t enough venues and those that there are only care about how much food and drink they can sell, not about how much music people will hear. bands starting from scratch, especially interesting non-rock-and-roll. live music is labour-intensive and costly. DJs and nightclubs are cheap. licensing is run by local councils as a revenue-raising exercise.

    normally i have a lot of time for what rumbold says, but in this case i tend to agree with whoever said that cutting funding for music festivals just as the credit crunch is about to bite will utterly kill the live music scene. and london is supposed to be the capital of world music!

    i’m not even a professional musician – i have a proper job too; however, i do know that musicians are some of the most financially disrespected people on the planet, apart from the 0.00000000000000001% that make it as rock stars.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  63. Dalbir — on 13th August, 2008 at 4:16 pm  

    What they should do is limit funding of the BBC. I don’t want my taxes to fund this quaint nonsense.

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