I just went on Sky News to do a brief chat about where the closure of Theatres, Film and TV Sets and the hospitality industries left creatives and my fund raiser but shat my self. So I wanted to write what I wanted to say here.
Working in the creative industries makes you a member of the precariat class. No one is guranteed a living unless you're in a government funded organisation in Theatre, Film or Television or at a broadcaster. Everyone else is at the ebb and flow of various projects. Some are born into capital and some have amassed money but the vast majority haven't. These are the people most at risk from the closure of the culture and hospitality industries.
As the projects close there is no requirement for the producers to pay employees and there are no jobs for them to go into which leaves them stuck. This is why I set up that fund. To help the people that easily could have been me several years ago.
The set up for precariat workers in the UK is bleak; the nation is currently propped up precariat workers working 0 hour contracts, paying private for high priced low quality accomodation, at risk of being sacked at any moment, changing schedule, no sick pay and no holiday pay. I think of being thrust into poverty as being a chair; if you take one leg away you fall over. If you get sick, you have depression, you lose your job, your marriage breaks down... What ever... You are thrust into poverty. Poverty is SO close at all time for the precariats. And that's what the Corona Virus has done; it has taken a leg away. And people are about to suffer.
In the creative industries there are no protections. ACE have agreed to bail out people in ACE contracts partially. There are no gurantees for private companies and for those out of work they're at the behest of bar owners. A lot of people are going to fall into poverty very quickly in the Creative Industries. There is no other way of looking at it.
The Tories telling people not to go to theatre and cinemas is also not ideal; because the government isn't closing these places down means they can't claim on insurance and have to stay open with minimum income knowing they're losing money.
They asked me what I wanted to see and I shat myself. Here's what I want to see: Statutory Sick Pay for the Self Employed from the Government. Rent and Mortgage Fees frozen. I was nervous. I didn't say it. But there we are.
My fund is set up for Liverpool based Creatives. The odds of the Tories helping the city are exceptionally low. As we know the grudge dates back to Thatcher, the Hillsborough cover up, Hesseltine and his planned decline, Boris and his self pity city to the present day where Liverpool has, some how, amassed a 72 million pound deficit because it's not been funded at the same rate as the rest of the nation, where Liverpool has a rising infant mortality rate, where Liverpools succesful crack down on rouge landlords has been stopped by the Government. The Government won't help Liverpool because Liverpool holds it to account. I'd love to be proved wrong. But there we are.
So listen: the collective spirit has been amazing here. People from all over the country have given money. Mostly from the London Theatre Community which I am indebted too.
My biggest hope is that we will see in these times that we LITERALLY need each other and that socialism will prevail. We can't operate alone because, as we've seen through Richard Branson not honouring his workers contracts, when one of our legs breaks in a capitalist society those getting rich from our labour will not be there for us.