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20.02.17

Creativity and culture can be the glue that holds Brexit Britain together

Higher levels of creative output can help build regional identity and encourage more local autonomy in public services in a virtuous circle of civic pride

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills was replaced by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy when Theresa May succeeded David Cameron as prime minister. This brought industrial strategy firmly into vogue. Only recently, however, has a clearer sense emerged of what this means: in part, an increased confidence in the creative industries.

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20.02.17

What effect will the Chilcot report have on the Labour Party?

In another era, beset by a crisis equivalent to that which now buffets post-referendum U.K., Labour would be asking an old hand like Tony Blair to resume leading it. Now, Blair’s shadow must be outrun by anyone who aspires to lead the party.

Every Labour leader since Blair has moved further away from association with him. Gordon Brown made much of having a chillier, soberer relationship with President George W. Bush. He also initiated, way back in June 2009, the Iraq Inquiry, led by former civil servant Sir John Chilcot, which reported today.

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20.02.17

The True Value of Music

If you ask the UK government, ‘what is the true value of music?’ They couldn’t give you much of an answer. There are weaknesses, which DCMS acknowledge, in the Gross Value Added (GVA), export and employment metrics that ONS ascribe to the music industry.

Measuring Music, an annual study that I lead for UK Music, seeks to make up for these lacunae in the government’s knowledge.

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20.02.17

Creative Industries and Methodologies

Each year, DCMS publishes its creative industries economic estimates. They are something of a gold standard on the economic performance of the sector. This year, in addition to publishing the estimates, DCMS consulted on how their economic reporting may evolve.

We responded to this consultation. Our response covered issues such as the creative economy, microbusinesses, productivity, export of creative goods, creative intensity within different economic sectors, sub-national data, and now-casting. It was, therefore, a wide ranging consultation.

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20.02.17

Launch of Creative Industries Council Strategy

“There are huge opportunities ahead,” John Whittingdale, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, told the Creative Industries Council summer reception earlier this week, “but I need you to tell me what they are.”

Whittingdale was trying to lift any Brexit induced gloom. Seeking to protect the interests of the creative industries in future EU relations, the post-referendum world should not wholly be about protecting what we’ve got. Instead, he argues, it will be possible to do and achieve things impossible within the EU.

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20.02.17

A new alliance between the third and cultural sectors

After the 2010 general election, when the Big Society still remained the big idea of David Cameron’s government, the Office for Civil Society was one of the hippest parts of government. While the appointment of Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary generated more headlines, one of Theresa May’s first acts as Prime Minister was to move the Office into the DCMS.

Given that DCMS is considered a relatively lowly department, is it where the Big Society goes to die or where cultural policy is re-energised by a new cadre of civil society experts?

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20.02.17

Moving towards a more diverse music industry

The Brit Awards have followed the Oscars in overhauling their processes, following criticism for a lack of diversity among those who win awards and those who award them. As welcome as this is, the importance of diversity to the creative industries should not end on stage.

I was proud and pleased, therefore, to work with UK Music to improve understanding of diversity within the music industry workforce. This inaugural diversity survey took data from almost 3,000 staff from major and independent record labels, music publishers, managers, producers, royalty-collection societies and the live music industry.

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20.02.17

Jam-eaters will decide Copeland. Based on her trip north, Theresa May has clearly never heard of them

It is easy to poke fun at Cumbria. The land that time forgot. Northern accents that can’t quite be placed – “I thought you were from Yorkshire”. Withnail and I going, “on holiday by mistake”. Lots of sausage. Little hip and happening.

Most people in Cumbria, I feel, look at Millom, a town of 8,000 people in the south of Copeland, scene of one of this week’s byelections, as the rest of the country looks at Cumbria – far-flung, incomprehensible. “It is,” I was once told by a friend from Workington, “a funny place, Millom, isn’t it?” Millom, in turn, redirects this perception to Bootle, a nearby village.

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20.02.17

We are a European country

The wealth of the UK depends much more on European trade than with any other export market. Our prosperity, much more interwoven with continental prosperity than with prosperity over any other geography, is used to finance public services that are discernibly European in their scope and coverage. Popular support for such public services rests upon values that are more akin to those held elsewhere in Europe than beyond.

We are, in other words, a European country. Europe is not the EU. But the EU is the key organising unit for the advance of shared economic and political interests within Europe.

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20.02.17

May and Trump are in charge – but voters’ wallets still rule

Trump’s inauguration. May’s speech. We are told that Trump is a protectionist and May is for free trade. But they both reject the social market that characterises the EU, making it a golden shower of a week for internationalist social democrats.

The market comes via trade within the EU, while the social is injected by having this occur above a floor on workers’ and consumers’ rights, as well as protections for the environment and other public goods. “We would be free,” threatened the prime minister, “to change the basis of Britain’s economic model.” The social dimension of the EU model would not endure any transformation into Dubai-on-Thames. Nor, according to a former head official at the Treasury, would the NHS.

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20.02.17

Big match preview: The Clinton vs Trump debate

No matter what happens to Labour under Jeremy Corbyn, no matter whether Brexit is soft or hard, no matter whether secondary modern schools return or not, these all pall next to the consequences of President Trump.

Nearly half of Trump’s supporters expect him to detonate a nuclear bomb. No one should sleep easily. Especially not in the Baltic states, where the closeness between Trump and Putin is particularly troubling.

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20.02.17

Why things are not as bleak as they look for social democrats

Uncanny. That is what Nigel Farage says of the supposed similarities between the EU referendum and the US presidential election. This is not a comparison exclusive to him. Far from it. The excellent Gideon Rachman has made it as articulately as anyone in the Financial Times.

“This similarity is more than an unfortunate coincidence. I would point to three parallels between Brexit and the Trump phenomenon that should worry the Clinton campaign. The first is the potency of immigration as an issue. The second is the way in which the Trump and Brexit campaigns have become vehicles for protest votes about economic insecurity. The third is the chasm between elite opinion and that of the white working class.”

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