THIS IS NOT OVER, IT IS JUST THE BEGINNING by Rebeca Riofrio
Updated: Dec 8, 2020
It is no surprise that the current political atmosphere in the United Kingdom is gloomy. Many people are losing faith in the government and their policies. In 2020, Brexit and COVID came to the UK hand in hand, like the evil twins from a Hitchcock movie bringing terror to all of us. As the director of the Parliamentary Society for Arts, I feel the burden and desperation of many of our members, especially our artists who are losing their business and feel left behind fighting a lone battle. We all know that Arts funding isn’t any form of bailout. It’s essential for our nation. The UK’s creative industries have been one of our greatest success stories and an asset to this country and to our economy, and yet the government has failed us, specifically, failing to appreciate the complexity of our creative ecosystem. It is true that £1.57 billion investment has been allocated to protect Britain’s world-class cultural, arts and heritage institutions, but Britain is not only made up of big institutions, it is also made of freelancers and limited companies.
During these months I have witnessed many hundreds of people losing their homes, attempting suicide, closing their business owing to the twin effects of finance and psychology.
I understand our government is trying to help everyone as much as they can, but I would like to address the frustration of many that are falling through the cracks with respect to the Government’s recovery plan. We must not forget that the creative industry in the UK represents a value of (as per figures given by www.gov.uk) £13 million per hour to the UK economy, and that’s equivalent to £306 million pounds every day. In 2018 it represented £111.7 billion pounds to the UK economy, and yet, I sometimes feel that many people including the government officials often perceive the creative industry as secondary and not as important.
Going forward, I am still hopeful that things will get better and I firmly believe that the UK will come out of this pandemic slowly perhaps but surely!!
I would like to remind our members and friends that our country has survived many catastrophic and devastating events; global occurrences that perhaps killed half our population. Despite that, we have stood and have confronted adversity in its face. Eventually we conquer! We have all won when we stand together – we just need unity, compassion and unconditional love.
In 1934 a devastating fire almost destroyed the Palace of Westminster. Shortly after a new building was built, this year, we celebrated and commemorated 150 years of the Palace of Westminster.
The 150th commemoration of Palace of Westminster really symbolises the tradition of democracy and the recognition of rights and equality. Britain has been a home to hundreds and thousands of immigrants who have now become part and parcel of the UK’s traditions and culture – a sign of true democracy all around.
We can and we will keep our heads up, hoping and praying that things will slowly improve, and that the government does not just ‘leave us behind’. Let us all believe that we will shine yet again, filling up arenas, bringing joy all around us, designing and painting and above all enriching the UK in the way that we so love.
Contact Rebeca Riofrio on Parliament@parliamentarysociety.com