As I keep being tagged into this ongoing debate, so I’m going to weigh in. It’s accurate to say that if Britain hadn’t had a welfare programme, my eldest daughter and I would have been in desperate trouble. I understand you’re not contesting that. However, you also seem to be asserting that I never benefited from government support as an artist. This is inaccurate. I received a grant from a government supported arts programme that enabled me to finish my second book.
In times like these, and speaking as somebody who has several key workers in her immediate family, I can see why some people might regard artists, writers etc as about as much use as Cacofonix the Bard on the battlefield (Asterix reference, if you haven’t read it, do). However, even in wartime, filmmakers, writers and performers were supported by government to do the necessary work of improving morale and providing people with a necessary means of escape and respite. Art is unique to humanity and it bolsters our humanity.
The priority right now is saving lives, but I felt obliged to point out that I *did* receive government assistance through an arts programme. One of the many reasons I feel strongly that people like me should pay their full share of taxes is that the next JK Rowling may need help from an arts programme, too, and I wouldn’t want her to be unable to fulfil her potential because the money wasn’t there. Art matters, even in terrible times. Books have always been my greatest refuge and I know I’m not alone.
PS Sorry for the two 4s. I’m a writer. I can’t count.
Previous writing: « Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope Human Rights Award 2019 – Acceptance Speech
Next writing: Reply for Hetta »