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Allowing Britain’s access to carry on would be nothing short of a gift, and given the state of diplomatic relations, it’s unsurprising that the commission isn’t in a giving mood.
As with other aspects of this sloppy negotiating process, the UK cannot have its cake and eat it. When the bid of my own area, Inverness and Highland, to be ECo C in 2008 failed, Scotland’s then First Minister was so impressed by the momentum built up that the year-long cultural celebration, Highland 2007, was born.
And as we miss out on a chance to showcase underrepresented cities, we’re missing out on a source of funds that can help us realise not just the chance, but the responsibility, of shining a light on underrepresented people.
In the overwhelmingly white and middle-class world of the arts in Britain, a loss of funding makes it more likely that marginalised creatives – female, working class, LGBT, black and minority ethnic or all of the above – will struggle to get the break they need.
Some of the best ideas occur where different cultures and experiences intersect – deputy Labour leader Tom Watson spoke of “cultural isolation”, and while that sounds dramatic, conceptual bridges reported that since 1983 the number of visitors per year to Glasgow had jumped from tens of thousands to four million.
Unlike the referendum that has led us here, the EU regulation which sets out conditions for entry to ECo C is legally binding.
Candidate cities have said they will keep calm and carry on implementing the plans they had in the run-up to 2023, with or without the dividends they might have received at the end.
But what a shame the cultural sectors in those cities won’t be able to enjoy the combined power of both.
No one can ignore the looming possibility of a hard Brexit. Pre-referendum, the Creative Industries Federation’s (CIF) internal poll produced the same numbers as Gibraltar’s real-life vote.
The survey coincided with an open letter signed by 300 high-profile creatives in support of the EU.