Imagine lockdown. Now imagine it without streaming your favourite shows. Now imagine it without being able to listen to your favourite artists. Imagine it without your favourite band doing a live-streamed gig, imagine it without your favourite festivals offering ‘virtual’ alternatives. Imagine a lockdown without the creative industries, Rishi Sunak and the Conservative party want to take it away from us all.
The spread of Coronavirus means that events are still unable to happen, theatres, venues and cinemas are all forced to keep their doors closed. Yet it feels as if the UK government don’t really care. The ‘Culture Recovery’ fund has already been pushed back, with most venues still worried that they’re not going to see any income.
Yet today, things only got worse, in an interview with ITV, Rishi Sunak stated that musicians should ‘retrain and get new ‘proper’ jobs’. With unemployment rates rapidly rising, companies afraid to take on new workers in case of a second lockdown and more sectors having new restrictions, the ‘new jobs’ that the tories are offering, don’t actually exist.
The lighting technician at the show probably trained for years to be doing the job that he’s doing today, working and re-training where appropriate, the same goes for the vast majority of people within creative industries.
On top of this, the majority of musicians do actually have second jobs, whether it be as delivery drivers, supermarket warehouse workers, retail workers, you name it, they probably have done it. This, unfortunately, isn’t the point though, the point is that the music industry alone contributes over £5.2 billion to the UK economy, yet they’ve been offered nothing in return.
My heart breaks for musicians, DJs, everyone behind the scenes and the venues, theatres and cinemas. The creative industries aren’t the ones who made a mess of the response to the pandemic, it wasn’t them who promised us a ‘world beating’ track and trace system (which actually doesn’t really work), it wasn’t them who travelled up and down the country after finding out they had tested positive. It was all the government.
Nobody is free from the effects of the pandemic, but the efforts of the Conservative party do nothing but add fuel to the fire.