Wolverhampton by-election

I don’t normally post by-election results but this one is significant.  Lynda Leach won the Bilston North By-Election last night for Labour on a massive 13.1% swing from the Tories since May 6th. The Lib Dem vote collapsed (their vote was down over 90% since May 6th) and the Conservatives were roundly beaten by more than 800 votes.

The victory gives Labour our 30th seat of 60 on Wolverhampton Council and puts us a whisker away from overall control.

Lab 1292
Tory 460
BNP 131
Lib D 52

Cuts to Arts Funding

I sit on the Department of Culture Media and Sport Select committee. We’ve just announced a new inquiry and have issued  a call for evidence on Funding of the Arts and Heritage. We’re inviting written submissions and requesting views on the following issues:

What impact recent, and future, spending cuts from central and local Government will have on the arts and heritage at a national and local level;
What arts organisations can do to work more closely together in order to reduce duplication of effort and to make economies of scale;
What level of public subsidy for the arts and heritage is necessary and sustainable;
Whether the current system, and structure, of funding distribution is the right one;
What impact recent changes to the distribution of National Lottery funds will have on arts and heritage organisations;
Whether the policy guidelines for National Lottery funding need to be reviewed;
The impact of recent changes to DCMS arm’s-length bodies – in particular the abolition of the UK Film Council and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council;
Whether businesses and philanthropists can play a long-term role in funding arts at a national and local level;
Whether there need to be more Government incentives to encourage private donations.
The Committee will also examine other areas of interest that are raised during the course of its inquiry. A copy of the submission should be sent by e-mail to cmsev@parliament.uk and have ‘Funding of the Arts and Heritage’ in the subject line. Submissions should be received by Thursday 2nd September 2010.

It assists the Committee if those submitting written evidence adhere to the following guidelines:
Each submission should:
1. State clearly who the submission is from, i.e. whether from yourself in a personal capacity or sent on behalf of an organisation

2. Be about 3,000 words in length / run to no more than six sides of A4 paper; as far as possible comprise a single document attachment to the email;  begin with a short summary in bullet point form;  have numbered paragraphs; and

3.  Be in Word or Rich Text format (not PDF) with as little use of colour or logos as possible.   Please supply a postal address so a copy of the Committee’s report can be sent to you upon publication.
4. You should also be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
5. Though there is a strong preference for emailed submissions, those without access to a computer should send a hard copy to:
Committee AssistantCulture, Media and Sport Committee
Committee Office
House of Commons
7 Millbank
London SW1P 3JA
A guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at: http://www.parliament.uk/commons/selcom/witguide.htm
Please also note that:
·         Committees make public much of the evidence they receive during inquiries. If you do not wish your submission to be published, you must clearly say so. If you wish to include private or confidential information in your submission to the Committee, please contact the Clerk of the Committee to discuss this.
·         Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed submission, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.
·         Evidence submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.
·         Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the Internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence. 
For up-to-date information on progress of the inquiry visit: http://www.parliament.uk/cmscom
Committee Membership is as follows: 
Mr John Whittingdale (Chair) (Con) (Maldon), Ms Louise Bagshawe (Con) (Corby), Paul Farrelly (Lab) (Newcastle-under-Lyme), Dr Thérèse Coffey (Con) (Suffolk Coastal), Alan Keen (Lab Co-operative) (Feltham and Heston), Damian Collins (Con) ( Folkestone and Hythe),Jim Sheridan (Lab) (Paisley and Renfrewshire North)
Philip Davies (Con) ( Shipley), David Cairns (Lab) (Inverclyde), Mr Adrian Sanders (Lib Dem) (Torba) and me, Mr Tom Watson (Lab) (West Bromwich East),

Specific Committee Information:  cmscom@parliament.uk/ 020 7219 6188, Media Information: Laura Humble  humblel@parliament.uk/ 020 7219 8430, Committee Website: www.parliament.uk/cmscom ,Watch committees and parliamentary debates online:  www.parliamentlive.tv 
Publications / Reports / Reference Material:Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474).  Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on www.parliament.uk

Extract from the BBC Charter

The BBC’s public nature and its objects

1. The BBC exists to serve the public interest.

2. The BBC’s main object is the promotion of its Public Purposes.

3. In addition, the BBC may maintain, establish or acquire subsidiaries through whichcommercial activities may be undertaken to any extent permitted by a FrameworkAgreement. (The BBC’s general powers enable it to maintain, establish or acquiresubsidiaries for purposes sufficiently connected with its Public Purposes…..

4.The Public PurposesThe Public Purposes of the BBC are as follows—

(a)sustaining citizenship and civil society;

(b)promoting education and learning;

(c)stimulating creativity and cultural excellence;

(d)representing the UK, its nations, regions and communities;2

(e)bringing the UK to the world and the world to the UK;(f)in promoting its other purposes, helping to deliver to the public the benefit ofemerging communications technologies and services and, in addition, taking aleading role in the switchover to digital television.

5.How the BBC promotes its Public Purposes: the BBC’s mission to inform,educateand entertain

(1)The BBC’s main activities should be the promotion of its Public Purposes through theprovision of output which consists of information, education and entertainment, suppliedby means of—

(a)television, radio and online services;

(b)similar or related services which make output generally available and which may bein forms or by means of technologies which either have not previously been used bythe BBC or which have yet to be developed.

John.F.Kennedy “When Britain Stood Alone”

The White House, Washington D.C., April 9, 1963. (Awarding of honorary citizenship of the United States of America to Winston Churchill)

President John F. Kennedy said:-

“We meet to honour a man whose honour requires no meeting – for he is the most honoured and honourable man to walk the stage of human history in the time in which we live. Whenever and wherever tyranny threatened, he has always championed liberty. Facing firmly toward the future, he has never forgotten the past. Serving six monarchs of his native Great Britain, he has served all men’s freedom and dignity. In the dark days and darker nights when Britain stood alone – and most men save Englishmen despaired of England’s life – he mobilised the English language and sent it into battle. The incandescent quality of his words illuminated the courage of his countrymen. Given unlimited powers by his citizens, he was ever vigilant to protect their rights. Indifferent himself to danger, he wept over the sorrows of others. A child of the House of Commons, he became in time its father. Accustomed to the hardships of battle, he has no distaste for pleasure. Now his stately Ship of Life, having weathered the severest storms of a troubled century, is anchored in tranquil waters, proof that courage and faith and the zest for freedom are truly indestructible. The record of his triumphant passage will inspire free hearts for all time.

By adding his name to our rolls, we mean to honour him – but his acceptance honours us far more. For no statement or proclamation can enrich his name — the name Sir Winston Churchill is already legend.”