Monday, 4 December 2017

That, apparently, is not what he meant...

I’m not exactly the biggest fan of the idea of designating a particular city as the Capital of Culture for a period.  It does seem to bring some economic benefits to the areas concerned, but I wonder how long-lived they are, and how well - and fairly - the benefits are spread amongst the wider community.  I suspect that there might be other ways of spending the same amount of money for better outcomes.  Whatever, the competitions exist, and as long as they do, I cannot fault those cities which do their best to get whatever investment is available, from whatever source.
One of the competitions is the ‘European Capitals of Culture’ Programme.  It’s run by the EU and the funding comes from the EU’s budget, but is not only open to EU countries; it is also open to EEA/EFTA countries, as well as candidate and potential candidate EU members.  And it was supposed to be the UK’s turn to have one of its cities nominated for 2023 under the rules of the scheme.  However, the EU Commission has, not at all surprisingly, pointed out that after March 2019, as a result of the Brexit referendum and the government’s hard line decision to refuse membership of the EEA/EFTA as well as of the EU, the country will no longer fall into any of the eligible categories, and cannot therefore nominate a city for 2023. 
It’s an entirely reasonable and logical conclusion – unless you’re a Brexiteer, in which case it is “a pathetically childish act” according to Leave.EU, and has been described by various commenters as an example of the EU’s bullying approach, or another reason why the UK is right to leave.   Even Nigel Farage is apparently sad about it.  Yes, that’s right – people who think we should walk away without paying a penny more into EU funds really are arguing that the funds to which we are no longer contributing (and this funding would come after the period covered by the misnamed divorce bill) should still be available to the UK.  Or even that the fact that the funds to which we currently have no commitment and to which we will not be contributing are not available to us is a good reason or not paying for anything to which we have committed.
As one of the more rational commenters put it: “Don't think you quite understand how this Brexit thing works do ya?”.  But then, who can be bothered with mere facts?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Has any town/city in Wales ever applied for or won this accolade?