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Sunday, 13 March 2011

Save the thesps

From some left wing rag (I forget which):

A cast of stars from the first rank of British acting talent has sounded the alarm about the future of theatres in which many of them made their names.
Funding cuts to regional and subsidised venues will halt the flow of skilled performers and damage one of the most admired, commercially successful sides of cultural life, says a distinguished cast of household names at the forefront of a campaign being launched this weekend by Equity, the actors' union.
"The cuts are a kind of idiocy," said television and stage star Tim Pigott-Smith. "These people are buffoons and philistines. We cannot rely on an endless supply of good actors and directors with no investment. Funding is already right on the edge and these will not be cuts; they will be amputations."

Which is why, thank goodness we are not governed by luvvies.  If something is successful, then it doesn't need government money.  If on the other hand it may or may not be successful but needs the skill and judgement to assess whether a venture might make sense, then the last people who should be making those judgements are unqualified civil servants or self-interested politicians.  leave it to the professionals.

If government really has to hand out free loaders who want to offload risk onto the public purse, perhaps in the current financial climate we should be concentrating on those projects that will have an enduring and tangible benefit rather than pandering to the whim of some over-rated has-been loitering in the West End.

The last government cost the Treasury a small fortune by falling for the idea that the British film industry could be stimulated by having British made films supported by tax breaks.  A major factor was the luvvies poncing in front of the camera saying that their "industry" needed to be saved, forgetting that one way of saving whatever it was would be to be paid less.  It didn't strike these film stars as at all odd that they should be campaigning that their exotic lifestyles should be subsidised by the taxes paid by other much less well off than themselves.

The net effect of granting accelerated capital allowances on "British" films that a bunch of Hollywood producers pocketed 5-10% of the notional value of their largely unBritish films as upfront cash, the lawyers and banks had a field day, while high net worth individuals (bankers and footballers) sheltered large chunks of income from the tax man, and you dear reader / tax payer (I seem to be ending a lot of posts this way recently) picked up the bill.

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