|Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything|
the regenerating resurgence of the 60s and 70s social mobility meant a vibrant
and energizing arts creativity. There was a wealth of working class musicians
who listened to American blues artists and realized that anyone might aspire to
pick up a guitar and play rock and roll.
this is not so today. I wondered a few years back over more recent UK bands
that hailed from middle class and upper middle class backgrounds - such as
Mumford, Coldplay and others - have been squeezing out those young people not so
appears I am not alone thinking these thoughts. Scottish actress Elaine C Smith
writing in the Sunday Herald, “Does it matter if UK culture is increasingly
dominated by a privately educated elite? You bet it does.”
is no doubt that the old guard are back in charge, with a wealthy, privileged,
white, male, privately educated elite dominating our arts, film and TV. The big
problem is that for young people today there are few opportunities if you
attend a state school
I lived in the US for ten years where I noticed that the tv soaps were never
about any divisive 'them and us' class system. Today in the UK we have either
posh TV soaps such as Downton Abbey - or
working class soaps like Eastenders.
recently several of the new younger actors are from privileged backgrounds, such as -
Benedict Cumberbatch, Eddi Redmayne,
have Oxbridge graduates coming up to Scotland to run The Scottish National
theatre and Creative Scotland, as well as other major cultural events here, who don’t have grounding in what Scotland is about. In fact a Scot has never run
these major Scottish creative bodies (to my great surprise!). I don’t suspect
that France would wish to have Germans or Americans running their culture!
remains – who is in charge of our arts – universities, galleries, theatre
companies, festivals, opera, ballet and so on. And do we need outsiders telling
us they know better how to develop our culture?
no, this is not about the politics of envy, as James Blunt suggested, but
rather that this stifles and misrepresents culture. This is also about
providing for cultural diversity.
actor James McAvoy expresses his concern: "As soon as you get one tiny
pocket of society creating all the arts, or culture starts to become
representative not of everybody, but of one tiny part, and that's not fair to
begin with, but it's also damaging for society."
Cumberbatch attended boarding school Brambletye
also attended Eton and Trinity college.
Chris Martin boarded at Sherborne School, a boys' independent
school Dorset where he met future Coldplay manager Phil Harvey.
Mumford attended private
school King’s College School Wimbledon.
was educated at
private school Harrow.
There are around 2,500
independent schools in the UK, which educate around 615,000 children, being
some 7 per cent of all British children and 18 per cent of pupils over the age
of 16. yet those from independent schools dominate at Oxford, Cambridge, government, and other leading roles. A big part of this is confidence and networking.