Olympics: a quick way to destroy the arts and rob a nation?

First it becomes clear that the arts are going to suffer disproportionately because of the 2012 Games, now it’s revealed that a whole country is to suffer.
Pouring boiling oil onto already troubled waters, <a href=”http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/3917/&#8221; title=”Jenkins article”>Tiffany Jenkins </a>makes the case that the arts sector has itself to blame for the current situation, or at
least that it won’t engender much sympathy. It’s her view that the arts has been chasing “an instrumental case for the arts, which has reaped short-term results,” and that they “cravenly plead to the government for cash on the basis of non-artistic
outcomes, stating their work will improve: ‘participation’, ‘self-esteem’ ‘community cohesion’, social regeneration’, ‘economic vitality’ and ‘health’. There is little mention of the quality of the art, dance, exhibitions, or musicals these institutions
could foster.” It’s a fair cop: but in a climate of real fear of reduced spending on ‘proper art’ and the promises of oodles of dosh for just filling in a form with some spanking new buzz words, who’s to say they shouldn’t have taken the money and ran?
It may have been a misjudgement, but I put the government’s raid on future arts funding in a completely different light: daylight robbery. And what about poor – yes, really poor – old Wales? According to Adam Price, Plaid’s economic spokesman, Gordon’s
lot are going to filch a whopping <a href=”http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/newspolitics/tm_method=full%26objectid=19904883%26siteid=50082-name_page.html&#8221; title=”icWales link”>£437 million for the Olympics </a>– I make that getting on for £150 for
each man, woman and child. If you’re still interested it’s even nearly 50 quid per sheep in Wales. There’s not much chance, in spite of what toady Welsh Labour MP’s say, that Wales will see a jot of benefit from the Games as a vehicle for improving
sport, fitness or even the country’s world-wide recognition: this is to all intent and purposes the English Olympics. As for the economic regeneration, well you can argue the toss about how to calculate its worth – and some academics profoundly doubt
that its worth much, if anything. Whatever, you can be certain it ain’t coming to Wales. And, as Price argues, it will have a double whammy effect on Wales causing a less than favourable Barnett settlement. I’ve no doubt that the Games in 2012 are going
to have an impact. I think politicians should be aware of the hidden ones: less money for the arts will lead to lower investment in the creative industries and a less attractive society for high-flying creative people (there’s lots of research that shows
that). An expanding and vibrant cultural industries sector is one of Wales’ big economic hopes. It ain’t going to happen. And the massive disinvestment that would follow the theft of £437 million will make all of Europe’s subsidies irrelevant and
pointless. So there are now two simple questions:
is the 2012 Olympics worth smashing up our cultural heritage and the cultural industries sector in Wales?
Is it worth the price of nearly half a billion pounds of disinvestment at a time when the country most needs it?
What price independence, you might well ask? And could the invitation to stage the Games in <a href=”http://onelondon.blogspot.com/2007/02/can-london-withdraw-from-2012-olympics.html&#8221; title=”Cancel Games?”>London be cancelled?</a>
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