I listened to the Steven Nolan Show on my way into work this Monday. Nolan talks of the cuts to 37 arts organisations by the Arts Council and then talks to a couple of folk. I heard the measured, supportive advocacy of Brendan Mulgrew (nice one Brendan) and his adversary called Jeffrey. I winced as this fully-paid-up free-marketeer, all shrill and sneer, chastised the arts and the public subvention of culture. His mocking tone ran something like this: if the arts are so good, why can’t they raise enough money for themselves without tax payers support?
Poor old, culturally-impoverished Jeffrey perhaps doesn’t know what it is to enjoy the arts? If he has an interest in economics, perhaps he might be a supporter? Maybe, he doesn’t understand that over 3,500 people work in this industry, making it one of the largest indigenous industries in Northern Ireland? Or that in the big, bad world, the relationship between economics and the arts, pitches nation against nation, tax break against tax break, and subvention against you guessed it … all trying to land the next Game of Thrones? Or to entice a top-class theatre to open up (like the ones we already have here!!), so that people attached to large corporations enjoy living in the place that they bring inward investment into!