Select company

I’m very proud to report that my sister, Rosalind Riley, gave evidence at the Select Committee on Funding the Arts and Heritage at the House of Commons today. She was talking about philanthropy, with a particular emphasis on smaller arts organisations and the difficulties they face in attracting philanthropy. Here’s a link.

I’ve also had a message from Ed Vaizey, who was also giving evidence today. He is very cross with me as he thinks my previous blog (below) is ‘completely unfair’ and that he didn’t bugger off but had to go and chair a meeting of another committee. Fair enough – I did however think we were going to be given the chance to question him at the Big Link-Up, and clearly so did others in the audience. He also said that if I thought he didn’t know about the threat to music services, ‘why the hell do you think I commissioned the Henley Review?’

I wrote back to him, pointing out that he really ought to mention that he’s aware of these threatened cuts, because failing to do so gives the impression that he has no idea what we’re going through on the ground, and also makes all his plans and ideas sound completely unrealistic. We’re going to lose services, which are going to be difficult to rebuild. I also told him that there had been a lot of anger in the room, and that I was expressing it.

During his evidence to the Select Committee, he said that he was not expecting philanthropy to fill the gap left by cuts. Both Rosalind and Dame Vivien Duffield felt he was being disingenuous. If you are going to make cuts, there will be gaps. It is difficult for a philanthropist to help fund something which is disappearing because it is losing its public funding, whether this comes through central or local government. You simply can’t have it both ways.

More news on Bedfordshire Music: Central Bedfordshire council officers have decided, they say because of increased pressure for cuts from central government, to change the proposal to cut the music service budget. They now propose it for April 2011 instead of April 2012 – so we have four months, firstly to protest and secondly to find an alternative. The situation is becoming ever more outrageous. Apparently a decision is due to be made on 7th December, despite the Scrutiny Committee’s recent recommendation to delay any decision until after the Henley Review has published its report. There are questions to be asked about how well local democracy is working as it should.

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Published in: on December 1, 2010 at 15:38  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Shouldn’t admit you guys are my sisters, because it’s obvious that I’m going to be the one smuggling you a cake with a file in after you are both dragged away and locked in the Tower, but WELL DONE I AM REALLY PROUD OF YOU BOTH!!
    And I’m sure Ed Vaizey’s got a packed schedule every day, but what is the point of turning up at things, speaking, then disappearing before he can hear grassroots opinion? He did the same thing at the select committee, and I honestly would have thought it would have been helpful TO HIM to stay and listen. It would actually save him work in the future if he garnered the views of people on the ground at an early stage. Maybe he should tell his secretary that he/she isn’t getting paid according to the number of things he/she can stuff in the diary.

    • I met his assistant – a nice young man called Craig who is of course a non-partisan civil servant. If I see him again I’ll tell him what you said about the diary!

  2. The link to the select committee hearing – I found it didn’t work with Opera but is OK with Firefox.


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