"On the 3rd of December 2010, Aberdeen City Council will meet to discuss proposals which will see music tuition in Aberdeen either privatised or terminated. Both options would be hugely damaging to music education in the city. Pupils who have Council instruments will be forced to return them and those wishing to carry on learning an instrument will have to pay for private tuition and the costs of purchasing their own instrument – an option not available to many. In addition the bands and orchestras run in schools and by the Council Music Centre will cease to exist."
And so it begins. The truly scary part is the philistines at Aberdeen City Council are not alone. They're not the first local authority to view the arts as a soft target nor will they be the last. Neither are the cuts to the arts restricted to tuition in schools (despite the fact that my guess is that while these cuts might save a ridiculously paltry amount of money in the short term, long term they'll cost - unemployed teachers, the widening gap in educational attainment between those from different economic backgrounds and all that comes along with it for starters), these come on top of the cuts to culture in general. Yup, let's ignore the fact the cultural industries are of enormous value to the economy and play a vital role in regenerating communities, while wholeheartedly rejecting the importance of culture in a civilised society.
I sketched my wee boy the other day as he drew a complex picture 'game' of pirates, complete with treasure map - totally lost in concentration as he added details of palm trees, sharks, treasure chests, erupting volcanoes and men overboard. His imagination is amazing and I'd like to think that's a positive talent his school would love to be able to recognise, nurture and encourage. But depressingly it appears we're now living in a society that not only doesn't value creativity and the arts, but in fact actively sabotages them and/or is intent on retaining culture only for the elite, so perhaps not. As someone fabulously said - the arts add colour to our lives. It really is that black and white and that's why these cuts are so totally, utterly tragic.
But enough with the enforced drabness, leave me a comment with your views, sign the petition http://www.gopetition.com/petition/40692.html or protest any other way you see fit.
And purely as an exercise in adding colour I'll be putting all posters' names in a hat and giving away a mounted Echo the Bat print come the festivities/revolution.