A Creative Independent Scotland?

Michael Clark Company

I feel optimistic. Janet Archer the new Chief Executive of Creative Scotland wrote the following as an opening gambit to the publication of  Creative Scotland’s plan for 2013 -14 recently published.  Full report here

“We are here to support the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland, through our funding, advice and advocacy, on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here.

Our first public facing Annual Plan aims to offer clarity around what we do and how we go about doing it, through setting out and sharing Creative Scotland’s detailed activities for the Year 2013-14.

It presents our work, our budgets and the aims and objectives of our organisation.

This is a transitional document. It reflects feedback that we have received over the past year and begins to present our purpose and the main parts of our work in a more simplified way.

There is of course more work to be done.

Over the coming months, I will be working with the senior leadership team and staff at Creative Scotland to develop the long term vision, plan and policy framework for the organisation. As part of this process we will take stock of the intelligence which emerged from the Open Sessions and Sector Reviews as well as other feedback we’ve received over the past year. Once we’ve produced our outline direction of travel we will consult with current and potential partners and stakeholders, including artists, film-makers, creative organisations and creative businesses, I aim to have this new strategic plan in place by April 2014. Alongside this we will continue to work on delivering the change commitments made by our Board in December 2012.

Creative Arts and Welfare Reform Hand in Hand

I  believe this to be a sincere and heartfelt statement from somebody that believe in artists, filmmakers and creative practitioners and in the power of the arts to change attitudes, perceptions and, dare I say it, people’s lives.

This follows on from the great speech given by Fiona Hyslop on Scottish Culture that she gave recently at The Talbot Rice Gallery in Edinburgh  Full text of speech Here

I believe that the Creative Arts in Scotland are really interesting and innovative  at the moment and with the vote on independence just round the corner – Scotland is the place to be.  It is clear that artists and filmmakers and creative practitioners will play a crucial role in defining the future. My hope is that all people in Scotland have enough opportunity to speak loudly about what they want for the future of their country

I love Scotland  – I worked there for many years and I believe in Independence from the rest of the UK.

I was stuck by a recent article in The Guardian that wrote of Alex Salmond’s claims that independence would allow Scotland to set up a better welfare system – and that – that view was supported by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Apparently the IFS have said that an independent Scotland would be able to scrap many existing UK benefits “which make little economic sense” and discard “poorly designed reforms” by the Westminster government.

This is likely to be a significant discussion point in the independence debate. The IFS  agreed with Salmond and his deputy, Nicola Sturgeon, that some benefits and reforms were ripe for reform. Those included the bedroom tax on unoccupied rooms; the benefits cap, fixing total payments to claimants to £26,000;  and capping local housing allowances.

A fairer Welfare System designed for the people of Scotland by the people of Scotland seems to make as much sense to me as celebrating the idea that the arts and culture have a significant role to play in the well-being of the nation.

Both things are excitingly possible in the very near future.



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