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Arts Council EnglandBeneath the old iron bridges, across the Victorian parks
And all the frightened people running home before dark
Past the Saturday morning cinema that lies crumbling to the ground
And the piss stinking shopping center in the new side of town
I’ve come to smell the seasons change and watch the city
As the sun goes down again

Here comes another winter of long shadows and high hopes
Here comes another winter waitin’ for utopia
Waitin’ for hell to freeze over

This is the land where nothing changes
The land of red buses and blue blooded babies
This is the place, where pensioners are raped
And the hearts are being cut from the welfare state
Let the poor drink the milk while the rich eat the honey
Let the bums count their blessings while they count the money

So many people can’t express what’s on their minds
Nobody knows them and nobody ever will
Until their backs are broken and their dreams are stolen
And they can’t get what they want then they’re gonna get angry

Well it ain’t written in the papers, but it’s written on the walls
The way this country is divided to fall
So the cranes are moving on the skyline
Trying to knock down this town

But the stains on the heartland, can never be removed
From this country that’s sick, sad, and confused

Here comes another winter of long shadows and high hopes
Here comes another winter waitin’ for utopia
Waitin’ for hell to freeze over

The ammunition’s being passed and the lords been praised
But the wars on the televisions will never be explained
All the bankers gettin’ sweaty beneath their white collars
As the pound in our pocket turns into a dollar

This is the 51st state of the U.S.A.
This is the 51st state of the U.S.A.
This is the 51st state of the U.S.A.

The The – Heartland, 1986

THEY really must be careful.  The government announces MASSIVE cuts to disability benefits and local government (again), keeps screwing the NHS and flagrantly mocking junior doctors for daring to protest (politely), drives through devastating education policies that effectively seek to privatise schools, more.  Meanwhile THEY get tax breaks – the wealthy, the fossil fuel producers, more.  Austerity is a calculated ideological move to remove people’s hard fought rights and introduce precarious living en-masse to huge swathes of the population.

Oh, look: “Good news” for the (implicitly neoliberal) “Creative Industries”!  MORE NEW BUILDINGS!

[Sounds of corks popping.]

Hang on a minute, isn’t there a big fiscal black hole that needs filling?  Not to worry, that’s not Art’s burden.  Not Art that’s part of UK’s world dominating Creative Industries (and I mean that in an Imperialistic colonising sense, of course).

So more new “flagship investments” to reinforce the walls of THEIR cultural citadel.

Tax back for cultural institutions.

THEY’RE PARADING NOW!  Not on the streets, you understand: that’s not where THEY like their culture.  PARADING around THEIR cultural buildings – old and new – and parading around each other’s cultural buildings too.

FLAG DAY!

(Well, they’ve grown a little nonchalant since THEY avoided big cuts.)

Not big flags.  Little one’s.  The sort you can easily secret away behind a carefully pressed lapel or a pin-hole rose…

What?  “WE are the 8%!  “Hand’s off OUR cultural capital!”  “BIG is better cultural value.”  “WE make YOU happy.”  “OUR art WILL make YOU happy.”

Flags for THEIR Creative Industries flagships!

Far more subtle than the ideological KEEP OUT signs omnipresent, yet almost imperceptivity invisible, on their front doors!

£20 million to the winning Northern city to host the Great Exhibition of the North.  Any takers?  Excellence.  It’s always about excellence.  Oh, and quality.  What?  Not this time?  Not often?  No.  This Northern city must comply with Conservative values.  It’s exhibition will be, like that at Crystal Palace, a showcase for colonial exploitation only this one will focus on internal colonisation.  Thatcher would have loved the irony of it.  Blair will, of course, be there.

NO MONEY UP NORTH FOR POOR PEOPLE.  Plenty for an exhibition of internal soft power!

Chin, chin!

THEY’RE throwing off their faux-democratic facades now.  (So late 1990s.)  DCMS and Arts Council England “consultations” will undoubtedly somehow rubber stamp silly Tory arts and cultural policy that will favour their friends and complicit flagships whilst quietly strangling the frightened majority and clamping down on any who dare dissent!

Money for arts citadels at the DIRECT EXPENSE of those in our society who most need it is nothing to cheer.  Nothing to be proud of.

I love arts and culture but I feel sickened when arts organisations cheer new “investment” using taxpayers’ money that (for Tory ideological reasons) has been ripped from those most in need!

The majority of people for whose “hearts are being cut from the welfare state”.

ARTLAND must not replace HEARTLAND!

But where are UK art’s dissenting voices?

Perhaps our state-led funding system creates an art world system that (like its other ideological systems) functions by breeding fear and compliance – the very opposite conditions needed for creativity and democracy…

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