Labour leader refuses to take arts questions

Labour leader refuses to take arts questions


norman lebrecht

May 19, 2017

The Creative Industries Federation has withdrawn from a general election event with Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson after the Labour Party refused to let them ask questions.

Their statement:

We had previously agreed with the four largest parties at Westminster – the Conservatives, Labour, SNP and Liberal Democrats – that we would provide an opportunity for each to set out its stall on the creative industries, the arts and cultural education. This would include a short speech by a senior party representative and then a rigorous question and answer session with Fed members and partners.

The series began in London on Wednesday with Matt Hancock, the Digital and Cultural Minister, for the Conservatives. His appearance included nearly one hour of detailed questions on Brexit, the industrial strategy, education in schools, skills, intellectual property, the role of digital and more.

As Labour informed us that they were no longer able to devote a similar amount of time to questioning as the other parties have agreed to, we invited them to reconsider. When we could not agree, we had no choice but to pull out of the event.

Ding-dong, Seamus Milne.


  • V.Lind says:

    My natural political sympathies are centrist-to left, and if I were in the UK I would start with an inclination to vote Labour (or Lib-Dem). But I can’t see why anyone, however loyal to the Labour party, would get behind such an inept and seemingly politically oblivious shower. If they were trying to run themselves right into the ground, to make sure they were absolutely eradicated in the polls, they could hardly make a more effective fist of it than they have in the last year or so and particularly since the campaign started.

    I have little sympathy for the general approach of the Tories — in west minster, that is; I increasingly think Ruth Davidson may be the smartest and most politically appealing politician on the scene these days — but at least they will run the government with a modicum of competence. This was for me always the strongest argument for Hillary Clinton in the US election — like her or not she would have had a clue what she was doing and would have put able people in place around her. Look at the chaos that has ensued from anointing a fool.

    And the fact that Labour seems to have nobody who can discuss the arts for an hour is not a sign that their finger is on the pules of the nation. We know they can’t count, nor do they know how to read a speech off a teleprompter or use escalators,and now it seems they do not even think about the arts and education in them, etc. Useless.

    • Peter Phillips says:

      I am a life long Labour voter and used to be active in the party. Sadly, I have to agree that everything you say is precise and totally accurate. It is primarily, though not exclusively, a question of competence, though myopia and cultural (in its broadest sense) ignorance have much to do with it. Your measured tone and cool analysis make the point all the more tellingly.

  • Holly Golightly says:

    Corbyn is just a benign, mung-bean-chewing, sandal-wearing professor; he hasn’t got what it takes for politics and his policies are a nightmare. Typical university type and a reflection of that profession’s contact with reality.

    • David pike says:

      Yet another non political comment hardly worthy of reply..a pathetic personal attack by a person who obviously has never even bothered to listen to what the man is actually saying.

    • Jackyt says:

      Jeremy Corbyn is no professor. He left school with just two A-levels – both at E-grades.

      • Mike Schachter says:

        Corbyn is a sixth former of pensionable age who was too busy playing at politics to learn anything. He has been compared to Michael Foot, very unfairly. Whether you agreed with Foot or not he was a genuine intellectual who did not sympathise with terrorists. Compare and contrast.

    • Stephen Frost says:

      What is wrong with chewing mung beans, wearing sandles or being a professor?

  • szchifo says:

    Vote Labour or get Tory

  • Patrick Ellis says:

    So the Labour Party could no longer afford to spend hours delivering speeches to some arts and crafts fanatics, and as a result of this the authorities decided to ban them from speaking to them altogether? This is pathetic, whoever was in charge of this is not fit to hold the position.

  • Cynical Bystander says:

    I thought it a well known fact that there are no votes in the Arts in the UK, unlike those effete foreigners we are ridding ourselves of. How many politicians of any party openly admit to an appreciation of the Arts? It is rumoured that some have been seen skulking about concert halls and horror of horrors Opera Houses but it is firmly denied when the heinous accusation is put directly to them. This in no way excuses Labour from failing to give of their time but given their poll ratings I suspect they have bigger fish to fry.

  • Jason says:

    Whatever you may think of Corbyn, the option is either him or risk sleep walking into a one party state. The Tories cannot be trusted; their greed will reach alarming proportions without the eu keeping them in check, and repeal of the human rights act etc, which will basically entitle them to do as they please, much to the dismay of the majority of people. This situation is more drastic than people realise. Corbyn is by no means perfect, but at least he is offering an alternative to what we’ve had over the past 40 years, which has ultimately made many people miserable, and will only get worse if it is allowed to continue this way. If we don’t vote for change now, we may not get a chance again in our lifetimes when you consider how the Tories practically gobbled up the lib dems and ukip. There’s no reason the same can’t happen to labour, and then it will be a very sorry state of affairs indeed. Please think about this.

  • NoneoftheAbove says:

    Corbyn is an IRA supporter he knows nothing about culture and has lousy dress sense. He should be made to wear a brown paper bag over his head for all time.

    • Leon Berger says:

      You mean he was hsving a dialpgue towards peace when the Tories were still sending in the troops?

      • Jon says:

        Corbyn and McDonnell had nothing at all to do with the Peace Process, that was started by John Major, and then taken forward by Mo Mowlam and Blair. At the time they were both looney backbenchers who hung around with the IRA supporting them and opposing the Peace Process.

        Corbyn voted against the peace process and the Good Friday agreement. Both he and McDonnell supported the IRA’s aims, and the so-called ‘armed struggle’

        • Leon Berger says:

          The right-wing press are getting truly desperate as Corbyn’s popularity is soaring and are trying all the smear tactics theycan. Of course we know that Corbyn talked to the IRA because he did it openly, but at the very same time Corbyn was openly talking to the IRA the political establishment were conducting secret backdoor deals with them.

          • Leon Berger says:

            And while you’re dragging up meaningless history and point-scoring, let’s not forget that Maria Gatland (Tory councillor in Croydon, South London). was, in a previous life, known as Maria McGuire and actually was a member of the Provisional IRA.

            This has nothing to do with the Arts, so I shall stop now.

      • Loyal Ulster Prod says:

        We in the Royal Black Institution, do not like Labour politicians as they always side with Sinn Fein. We celebrate our culture and the victory of the Battle of the Boyne, by glorious King William with rousing marches and tunes such as The sash my father wore and the auld orange flute. On the 11 July we light the biggest bonfires on the planet, the craic is fantastic.