It seems that the outcome of the election is quite uncertain; and I asked myself today: which of the three main parties would be the best for the film industry? I scanned through each of their manifestos and analysed their past records on the subject.
Their manifesto is very focused on the digital economy, and includes a commitment to broadband for everyone by 2012, and 'super-fast' broadband to 90 percent of the populaion by 2017. There are vague statements about the importance of the creative industries. In terms of their record, its a mixed bag. They did increase funding for the arts by 73% in the last ten years, but they've also cut funds for the Olympics.
The Tories have a pretty bad record - many people in the arts and creative industries remember the dark days of the 1980s where culture was left unfunded and Downing St had no idea what to do with the film industry. Their current manifesto says things like 'we will ammend local media ownership rules' and 'returning the Lottery to its original purpose' - I have no idea what that means.
With no back record to speak of, the Lib Dems have the most attractive policies in their mainfesto, with this particular excerpt quite nice: "Diversions to pay for the Olympics have also lead to a reduction in lottery money available for the arts. We will ensure that National Lottery funding has real independence from government and reassert the ‘arm’s length’ funding principle. We would also change the way the Lottery is taxed to generate more money for good causes. We’d leave it up to artists, musicians, museums and galleries, and crucially the communities they serve, to determine what form culture takes.".
Unfortunately, none of them mention specifically the film industry, which is a pity, given the billions of pounds the business brings to the country, and the prominence that it brings to the UK worldwide in the form of Oscar-winning talent and global blockbuster franchises, from Bond to Potter, to Cannes prize winners Loach and Leigh.
What will it take for politicians to take film seriously?