Agenda continued from page 23 A
Wilson: Why I’ll fund talent with tax-payers’ cash
Critics say alterations to Labour's flagship New Deal policy amount to a 'skiver's charter'. Writing exclusively for The List, Scottish Industry Minister Brian Wilson defends the plan to allow would-be artists, musicians and performers to live on the dole while they pursue their dreams.
THE IDEA OF the Government paying young people a little money to help them do what they want to do — and which they might turn out to be very good at — is not very popular with sections of the Scottish media.
Personally, I think it’s got a lot going for it. Not only is it good for the indiViduals concerned, but there is also plenty of evidence that encouraging people to develop their creative talents can turn out to be extremely beneficial to the national economy.
A Labour government should, above all, be about opening up new opponunities for people who might not otherwise have access to them. It should be about enabling them to fulfil their hopes and aSpirations.
The New Deal is very much in that tradition. It is about treating young unemployed peOple as individuals and doing everything possrble to ensure that it has the power to change lives for the better . Already, around 550 young Scots who had been out of work for more than six months are in employment because of the New Deal approach.
Against that background, it seemed to me entirely reasonable that the New Deal should be capable of supporting young people who wanted to develop their talent as musicians or in any other branch of the creative industries.
The rules of the New Deal had, unintentionally, Created a potential problem for those who would otherwise have pursued the well-established route of getting their musical act together, while surviving off the dole. That did not seem like an insuperable problem. We talk ab0ut ’fleXibility', so why not practice it?
As a re5ult, a workshop was held in Glasgow last week at which people from a wide range of creative industries discussed the practicalities of how the New
Wilson: wants to nurture ‘raw creative energy'
Deal COuld be linked up to indiVidual needs and become a useful enabler — rather than a bureaucratic barrier to achievement.
Depending on indiVidual Circumstances, either the self-employed or training options can be adapted to support what they want to do. But the emphasis has to be on that word: fleXibility.
Through the personal adViser which every New Dealer has, it should be possible to create access to adVice, support and eduipment which otherWise might not be available. But I fully accept that, if this
is to work, that has to be on the terms of the client rather than of the bureaUCracy.
That is why it is important to have well-respected people from the industries themselves involved. They can be available to prowde advice if it's wanted, not only on the technical skills but also on matters like contracts and copyrights which young people who enter these industries often find out about the hard way.
IneVitably, much of the media coverage concentrates on the negative 'what if's? They are alarmed by the prospect that hordes of young people might defraud their way onto the Creative industries option of the New Deal by Claiming to be in possession of musical talents and ambitions.
How negative is it possible to be? Is the whole idea of domg the right thing by a relatively small number
'This is a modest contribution to making life a little easier for young unemployed people who know in their hearts that they have creative talents.’ Scottish Industry Minister, Brian Wilson.
of young unemployed people, who JUSl might benefit mightin from it, to be sidelined because of the outside chance that a handful of individuals might abuse the system? I think not.
This is a modest contribution to making government a little more sympathetic and life a little easier for young unemployed people who know in their hearts that they have creative talents which are capable of being developed.
If the New Deal can deliver that outcome for even a small number of individuals, then it is another good reason for its existence, and for the commitment which we have made to it as part of a serious effort to crack long-term youth unemployment once and for all.
What do you think about the New Deal and the arts? Should performers be allowed to live on benefit while they wait for their big break? Write to The List, 14 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1TE.
And ﬁnally . . . why kidnappers’ threats won’tpifovgke tears of a clone
WHATEVER THE MERITS or otherwise of women getting into the ring and beating the living crap out of each other, the first ever Scottish boxing bout between two of the members of the once fairer sex took place at a swanky hotel in Dunblane. Much was made of the distasteful spectacle of an all-male audience baying for blood as Lourdes McDermott and Marie Leife prepared to knock each other around. Little mention was made of the lengths gone to protect all the vulnerable parts of the body, so that as little permanent damage as possible was done. Wonder why the men never thought of that?
A PUNCH-UP OF afar more dangerous sort was avoided as the French and Scottish police collaborated successfully to halt a group of Scots 'fans' crossing into France from Spain and causing an almighty rammy during the World
24 THE [IN 25 Jun—9 Jul 1998
Cup. After all the moral high ground rantings of the press whenever the ’English scum‘ carry on the imperialist struggle on foreign soil, there is a collective sigh of relief when a similar display of head- cracking from our own fans is narrowly avoided. Complacency is one thing the press and Scottish fans should seek to avoid. They are known as an Army, after all.
THE CSA IS back in the news again as they prepare to relaunch themselves with a 'name and shame' policy. In the wake of fierce criticism of the way they tot up their figures and condemnation for allegedly hounding more than 70 blokes into committing suicide, a new public relations policy is to be established. Now instead of being painted as evil life-wreckers, the agency will counter complaints by errant dads - who at present can lie with impunity. It's surely no coincidence that the plans were unveiled on 21 June - Father's Day.
THE NEW BREED of eco-warriors,
! already targeting agricultural
’ research sites, have denied press
, reports that they are looking at
l ways to kidnap the ultimate symbol
of DNA alteration. A Sunday paper reported that plans were afoot to get a hold of Dolly the cloned sheep, neuter her and then release her to anonymity and eternal happiness. Perhaps the activists thought better of the idea - kidnapping a clone is surely the height of futility.
SHE MAY HAVE wished to have her story told the way she sees it but Louise Woodward seems to be doing her damnedest to dig more holes for herself. Whatever good she may do for her cause with her 'Dianarama' interview, what has come through most clearly in her systematic denials is her own question ’if the parents didn't do it, then who did?’ Er, precisely . . . Then there's the cash received by her family from the coffers of the Daily Mail. Maybe, it's time for Louise to now quietly go away. We all know what happened to the last person to do a face-to-face with Martin Bashir. (Brian Donaldson)