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Thursday, 7 November 2013


Many of your loyal readers are getting increasingly puzzled by the obsequious attention you pay to Cllr Paget-Brown and his crew.
Every week you have some fulsome piece about the leader.Frankly, it's too much.....
Will you dare publish this weird 'thoughtpiece'? I doubt it, or if you do will you claim it's been written by Mr Fizzypatrick of PR?
Come on, Dame....let see what you are made of.....or are you angling for the Mayor's Award?

Speaking up for arts and culture
Posted by rbkcleadersblog
Perhaps it’s Constable’s full-leafed trees, Henry Moore’s reclining figures, Turner’s seascapes or Stanley Spencer’s visions.  It could originate in Camden Town, Glasgow, Newlyn, Cookham or St Ives. The sound track might be Elgar, Handel, Parry or Walton and there’s bound to be Lennon and McCartney. Does your dramatic preference veer towards the kitchen sink, barrack room or drawing room?  Closer to home perhaps it’s Lucian Freud, Harold Pinter, Oscar Wilde or Lord Leighton that strikes a chord.
But in whatever direction your artistic preferences lie, the sustained vigour of British culture always has something to offer.  There’s a certain confidence that flows from such a rich heritage and perhaps that is why we in the UK have always been so open to new arts and culture wherever it originates. In London, with its hugely diverse population, we have even more traditions to draw on, to understand and explore.
Enabling more people to have those life-changing encounters with the new and the different is of course one of the reasons we try and invest in our arts programme and why we have continued to do so even as the financial clouds have darkened.  But it’s not the only one. 
As a country we are less homogenous than we used to be. Far less.  If we don’t much care for the idea of a society cantonized along ethnic, religious and cultural lines, there must be opportunities for exchange – intellectual, social and aesthetic.  As a major employer and as a representative democracy with legal powers to encourage innovation and creativity, I think councils should give a lead in enabling that exchange and that is what we are trying to do.
And there is also a third reason for supporting the arts, a very hard-headed one.  According to HM Government, the creative industries are worth £36 billion plus to the UK economy.  Our slice of that pie here in Kensington and Chelsea is far bigger than might be expected given our size and population. 
 As well as some of the world’s leading cultural and creative institutions we have some 4,000 creative businesses based in the Royal Borough and we would like to see more.  Experts also tell us that such businesses are drawn to places with ‘a creative ambience’.  We have a great cultural heritage to draw on of course and that gives us an advantage.  But if we are to continue to attract creative businesses  and the jobs and economic activity that go with them, we need to take culture seriously.
 We are living in a new age of austerity but right now, thanks to immense efforts made to reduce costs and share services with our neighbours, we do not face a straight choice between funding the arts and funding core services.  Until that grim day dawns, we in Kensington and Chelsea intend to go on investing in the economic, cohesive and intrinsic benefits of arts and culture.  
Do you share my belief in the importance of supporting the arts? 


  1. Is this an early April Fools piece......

    1. No. It is the Royal Borough's Don Quixote

  2. As the parent of young children what worries me is this exhortation.....
    'Enabling more people to have those life-changing encounters with the new and the different. Yuck - and open to some v naughty misinterpretation.

    1. Oh dear Moral Guardian, now you've set my imagination running wild. I found the tone patronising, now I see this potentially dangerous undercurrent - 'life-changing encounters' indeed!

  3. Tired Tory Councillor7 November 2013 at 09:18

    It's just as we feared, we are entering a period of cultural dictatorship under NPB, how depressing.

    1. A sad person trying to punch above his weight. Pathetic really. Needs to be taken apart by the likes of Private Eye in the hope that he comes back to earth.

  4. It's time that the Dame stopped greasing up to Paget-Brown: it's frankly embarrassing and not what the Hornets Nest should be about. There are families literally on the breadline in this Borough, yet N P-B comes out with this 'let them eat cake' tosh.
    Get a grip, Dame and tell us you are shocked by this lack of sensitivity.

  5. Who wrote this tripe? Hopefully not an elected representative

    1. It's 'Nick Notes', our beloved Leader is supposed to have written it. Nasty, patronising, ill-judged - and hilarious. I hope it gets picked up by Private Eye.

  6. It is not the job of local Government to fund the arts. That is what the Arts Council was created to do and it spends a huge amount of money. Most of it in London. The job of K&C is to clear the dustbins and keep the roads clean. And when this kind of tripe is written by the Leader it is a sure sign that Councillors have got above their station. Or certainly Paget-Brown has.

    If this is what turns the rodent on then he should get a job writing for the Guardian on their arts page. Silly twerp

  7. The whole style of the piece is from a small person who has delusions of grandeur. Paget-Brown might get away with this in Essex but the Metropolis is hard and fast and a fraud stands out like a sore thumb

    1. Council Leaders should stick to their knitting and not try to get too grand. It leads to notions like the importance of using the Bentley (instead of taxis) to save money. Or the incredibly stupid statement by disgraced ex Leader Cllr PooterCockell at a Council meeting that "my Cabinet are outstanding and could hold their own in Downing Street"


  8. Oh Deary Me....the Leader must be after my job!

    1. Don't worry Mr Sewell, he already has a very important job:


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