SALVO, the independent Scottish Arts Lobby, will be launching its own manifesto for the arts this weekend at the organisation‘s AGM.

The Manifesto sets out ten priorities for the political parties fighting the real election

1. A Minister of Cabinet rank for Arts, Heritage and Broadcasting.

2. Independent responsibility for the Arts by the Scottish Office or a Scottish Assembly.

3. Review of the structure. functions and accountability of an independent Scottish Arts Council. Film Council. Museum Council, Craft Council.

4. Substantial real increase in funding. committed on a 3-year cycle.

5. Statutory duties for local authorities to develop policies and to fund the arts.

6. A wide range of tax incentives to encourage sponsorship from business, trade unions and individuals.

7. Zero-rated VAT for the arts.

8. Implementation ofthe Attenborough Report on Arts and Disability.

9. Statutory right ofconsultation for arts organisations on legislation

affecting the arts.

10. Free access to public museums and galleries.

In addition the manifesto asks that ‘steps must be taken to make quite sure that rural as well as urban communities are provided for; that the arts are made an essential part of education; that those who work in the arts. those who create, are given reasonable reward and security.‘

The AGM will go into closed session to decide whether. when the election is announced. to come down on the side of one party. ‘My advice will be not to; Eric Robinson. director ofthe Lobby. says, ‘I have been very anxious up to now to keep an all-party stance and I believe I have now got the confidence of all the parties. My message will be that ifpeople read our manifesto and then read what the parties say about the arts then they will reach their own judgements.’

A guest speaker, ex-director of the Canada Arts Conference, Curtis Barlow will address the AGM. The Canada Arts Conference in many ways exemplifies the sort of power that SALVO would like to wield it already has a statutory right to be consulted on all legislation for its assessment ofthe effect ofa Bill on Canada’s arts policies. Robinson believes that the lobby is already ‘breaking through‘ in terms of credibility. The next important step will be a month long programme of activities in May with rallies in Edinburgh and Glasgow. which will

2The List 3— 16 April '

put forward the pre-elect‘ion message ‘I Vote for the Arts‘. The SALVO Manifesto will be launched at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow on Sat 4 Apr.


Bill Bankes-Jones reports from the Dundee Playwrights Conference. A remarkable week of discussion between theatre practitioners took place at the Scottish Playwrights‘

Conference in Dundee 23—28 March.

Aiming to to define the way forward for Scottish theatre and assess some of the problems of putting on new Scottish plays. the major theme of the conference was quick to emerge. Monday opened with a retrospective. exposing the relative youth and popular origins of Scottish theatrical tradition. but identifying an exciting young movement in Scottish writing. going beyond the simple treatment of traditional themes in the mither tongue. but rather expressing a wholly new perception from the Scottish viewpoint. Herethe conference’s major theme developed: that the vitality of this movement necessitates the demolition of rigid divides between professional and amateur work that new Scottish writing could have a huge public appeal. far wider than the largely English plays often peddled by the rep system and in contrast to the perception of new work as ‘poison at the box office‘ that is the perennial complaint of Scottish playwrights. This appeal could best be achieved. we agreed. by allowing the public a hand in the creative process. as in They Fairly Mak Ye Work in Dundee itself— a recent new play of local interest combining both professional actors and local amateurs in the cast. whose first run sold out before the production opened.

Wednesday’s discussion. then. on community theatre seemed particularly important: two specific projects. both initiated by working reps showed just how much can be achieved. Eden Court. Inverness‘s Crafting Act directly relevant to Highland life played to packed houses in new venues throughout the North. while this summer the Witches Blood project. a dramatisation ofa local novel, initiated by Dundee Rep will involve at least 300 members of the local community

This positive thrust percolated all subjects that were discussed. In writing itself. on Tuesday. we saw the power ofthe imagination to transcend practical barriers imposed by the limitations ofunder-funded theatres (John Clifford), while critic Joyce MacMillan gave a brilliant

manifesto for vital popular theatre.

Thursday. women‘s day. raised the

possibilities of theatre as a means to effect positive change.

Alarmingly. the only area touched on which appeared bounded by solid brick was television (Friday), where various producers appeared impotent to allow even established writers to explore the creative potential ofthe medium in the face of ratings and advertising pressure. Theatre publicity officers meanwhile outlined the problems of finally

selling new plays- One of many PCYSPCCIiVCS from a conference. whose influence will hopefully reverberate through Scottish theatre for many years to come.


Robert Dawson Scott considers the demise of the ‘housewife’.

Well. ofcourse, the writing has been on the wall ever since the BBC axed Housewives" Choice. But now it’s official. On the afternoon of Saturday 4 April, at the Pollock Halls of Edinburgh University, one organisation at least will be hoping the word ‘housewife’ will pass out of the language for ever.

This weekend sees the annual general meeting of the National Housewives Register. an organisation which does for women’s minds what the Women’s Institute does for rhubarb and ginger preserve. And provided the national executive have got their sums right, the result of a national ballot. no less. will determine that the organisation changes its name to the National Women‘s Register. The word ‘housewife‘. according to the meeting‘s organiser Evelyn Mackenzie, is death to new recruits.

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521‘ *3" w"? ." » {g Housewile's Image, circa 1960. whenthe Registerwastormed.

You can change the words all you like; the function remains the same. Despite the fact that nearly halfofall women now have jobs outside the home. all but a tiny fraction of domestic work is still done by women. The fact is that an honourable estate. widespread and well-understood (the word first appears in the 14th century) has been talked into derision.

What makes it even worse is that

this has been achieved by an unholy conspiracy of two extremes. First the feminists have argued that you cannot possibly be a fulfilled person by being a domestic drudge; you must have failed in some way (emotive terminology NB). Then the most chauvinist of men jump on the bandwagon by encouraging the little woman to go out and get a second income for the household while still expecting her to run the house and wash their socks.

Much has been made ofthe tedium of domesticity. An early American feminist urged in the Forties. ‘for a woman to get a rewarding sense of total creation by way of the multiple monotonous chores that are her daily lot, would be as irrational as for an assembly worker to rejoice that he had created an automobile because he had tightened a bolt.’ But who says that tightening a bolt or hoovering a carpet is all you are? What has happened is that one activity is okay and the other isn’t, simply because one of them has a wage packet attached to it. We have a bad habit of reckoning everything in money terms alone. Ifa Van Gogh comes up for auction no one gets excited about what a wonderful painting it is; only about how much someone is going to pay for it. In the Western world we treat old people very badly because they are not seen to be productive and therefore worth something.

The national Wages for Housework campaign is not the answer any more than are the advertisers who are still peddling the idea that having a clean lavatory or a white wash is the next best thing to Nirvana, and certainly as close as we are ever going to get. The one takes us back into the cash trap and the other is just plain nonsense. What is required is a revaluation of domestic work as an essential, if not wildly exciting job. There‘s no reason why ‘I'm a housewife (or indeed a househusband)’ should be any more of a conversational cul-de-sac than ‘I’m in computers’; rather the reverse ifyou insist on talking to people only about their principal occupations. At least we all know something about housework even if only in terms ofwhat happens when you don‘t do any.

Abolishing the terminology seems like an admission of defeat. Some of the very organisations which exist for women’s support reek of defensiveness. Ifyou're not on the Register. you’re in the Institute. Either way you sound more like a patient than a person. I may be ' missing the point, as a bloke, and it’s not for me to tell the Register how to run their business, but I fear their change of name may in the end be playing into the hands of their worst enemies.