Vir Cantium

I'm right, you know …

Category Archives: Arts / Cuture

Andrew Lloyd-Webber Wants Your Money

His Lordship has spoken

In an outspoken speech, the musical impresario claimed the government was “turning its back” on one of its “most promising and world-leading sectors”.

There are many businesses who would be delighted if the government turned its back on them and left them alone.

“Britain is a talent hub that creates production and content that resonates around the globe.

You’re absolutely right. Just think how less successful the Beatles would have been without their state subsidies to … oh.

“So let me be crystal clear. Our vast creative potential is being strangled without any clear funding strategy for its long term future.”

Here’s an arts strategy for you, Andrew: produce stuff that people want to see, hear or look at, and they will buy the tickets, purchase the CDs and downloads, and so on.

Of course, if the stuff isn’t good enough for them to put their hands in their pockets, what gives you the right to force then to do so through their taxes?

He said that without the private funding and support of individuals and institutions, the situation would be much worse and potentially “irretrievable”.

He said the government could not rely on these benefactors forever…

It doesn’t sound like it’s the government relying on those benefactors – it’s you and your fellow rent-seekers.

Lord Lloyd-Webber, who helped compose a special song, titled “Sing”, for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, made the comments during a debate on whether the Government had a long-term strategy for the arts and cultural sector.

To which my answer would be “I certainly hope not.”


We Have the Technology; It’s Time to Kill the BBC Licence Fee

BBC Television Centre

BBC: So good you have to pay for it ... or else

Next year the TV licence fee will become technologically obsolete. The switchover to digital TV will be completed and the final technological barrier to moving the BBC onto a discretionary subscription funding model will be removed. (Whether or not that model should also include advertising is a related but separate debate.)

So why should the licence fee, which has existed for 89 years, be scrapped? Supporters of the ‘BBC tax’ will cite a number of reasons including the low cost, guarantee of independence, freedom to innovate, the enabling of the corporation to produce programming for minority tastes and the provision of public service broadcasting.

So let’s take each of these in turn.

That the BBC is cheaper than, say, a Sky subscription is undoubtedly true. After all, when you are able to charge all customers – including those of your competitors – for your product then the cost of your service can be spread more widely. Whether it provides value for money is a different matter, and is ultimately a subjective one. The acid test of this proposition must be to allow viewers to choose to receive the BBC and pay for it. Here the supporters of the licence fee are faced with a fundamental question that I have not yet heard an answer to; viz. if the BBC is that good, and offers such value for money, there should be nothing to fear from asking people to pay for it. Or, to put it another way:

If the BBC is so good, why do they need to force people to pay for it?

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So #UKUncut Would Rather Starve Galleries and Museums

Vodafone Shop

Where Lucifer gets his top-ups

There was much excitement yesterday among UKUncut members when the Tate launched a consultation on the potential use of apps for visitors and those interested in the gallery.

The interest, you see, was not that the Tate was looking at a potentially useful addition to their offer to visitors, but that the thing was sponsored by Vodafone.

Vodafone, as those who have been following these things will recall, are Evil. Very Evil, because they’ve only paid the amount of tax that they’ve been asked for. A year ago, they negotiated and settled with HMRC, after a ten year dispute over a grey area of tax law, to pay £1.25bn. UKUncut got it into their heads that the sum of £6bn should have been paid. Clearly Vodafone’s conduct is utterly immoral and UKUncut – whose supporters I am sure must make a habit of overpaying the taxman themselves so as not to be hypocrites – have been sniping at the company, much like one might open fire on a tank with a pea-shooter. Using mushy peas.

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