When it comes to politics, I personally put little stock in the personality of a party leader. Just because a person comes across as unlikeable and more than a little boring, doesn't necessarily mean they will make a poor leader or that their policies make any more or less sense to me. However, Ed Miliband was (until recently) the exception to this rule for me (I'd also include Nigel Farage, if it wasn't for the fact it's his joke of a party that put me off him first).
Ed Miliband is a man so perpetually awkward that he can't even eat a sandwich without looking like a gormless buffoon, and his public speaking record is exceptionally poor. He also resembles a less charismatic Wallace (of Wallace & Gromit fame), and possesses a voice that falls somewhere between a Little Britain character and a bunged up chimp. That being said, a recent announcement by the Labour Party leader has forced me to reconsider my position.
Labour Party leader Ed Miliband spoke at an event organised by the Creative Industries Federation at the Battersea Arts Centre
Speaking at an event organised by the Creative Industries Federation at the Battersea Arts Centre yesterday (February 23), Miliband declared that, if elected, his party will put art and creativity at the heart of their Governmental plans. He said, rather boldly, that “The importance of art and culture goes far beyond pounds and pence,” and went so far as to say that it “Defines our character as a nation.” He made a “Binding promise” that in the event of a Labour victory in May's upcoming general election, he would create a “Committee for Art, Culture and Creativity,” that would be made up of various practitioners and decision-makers from across the country, who would report directly to him.
Miliband stated that “The reason for setting up this committee is that we have to reflect arts and culture in every department,” and believes that “If Government thinks that the Prime Minister cares about this issue then Government will do something about it.” He also promised an overhaul of the creative education system, with an ambition to make creative subjects more crucial to school rankings. He said that “Under a Labour Government we will build the need for creative education into Ofsted inspections,” and when referring to the STEM subjects, said Labour “Will succeed in future with STEAM (adding an A for Art), not just STEM.” Miliband and his party, believe that “Putting art and culture ad the heart of Government policy means putting art and culture at the heart of our offer to young people,” and despite my reservations with the man and his party, I have to say I agree wholeheartedly.
“If Government thinks that the Prime Minister cares about this issue then Government will do something about it.” Ed Miliband
These promises fly in the face of Conservative policies, and especially current Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, who recently caused quite a stir throughout the artistic and creative communities, when she declared that creative and artistic subjects limit career choices. This was in defence of the Conservative Party's “Your Life” campaign, which aims to increase the number of students studying maths and physics at A level by 50% within three years. If Miliband's statements are to be believes, it would appear Labour are taking the opposite approach with their strategy when it comes to promoting and nurturing the artistic and creative industries, and all the power to them! What are your thoughts? Do you believe that Miliband would follow through with these promises? And do you think putting the artistic and creative communities deserve a little Governmental push?
Benjamin Hiorns is a freelance writer and musician from Kidderminster in the UK.