Come and have a go if you think you’re wired enough: Notes on Jeremy Hunt / Reform breakfast briefing 

mon 6th dec 2010

Key message:
“We will be introducing superfast broadband to support the future of the creative industries in UK Plc.  Funds will be accessed locally by a range of providers.”

How will JH ensure deprived communities can access these funds fairly?  Not just Surrey stockbrokers.

Example: Redbricks Online, 1998-.  Wiring a council estate in Manchester for almost no money. – albeit an estate with an unusually high proportion of Cambridge graduates, social entrepreneurs and insomniac ubergeeks.

Concerned about paucity of vision for Future of Creative Industries, as billed. Future of UK Plc – did we learn anything from All Our Futures? Why did it not translate into a step-change? How could we do better? Is it pointless to expect politicians to see the future or understand the creative industries? ‘business is the trojan horse for talking about creativity’ Robin Wight @Creative Accelerators

Where do schools come in? And lifelong learning? Older people mentioned – sounds expensive to help them access the public services. Need a ‘Lifelong ICT Access Programme’. Local access hubs with superfast broadband, a tea urn and free hobnobs. School-post office-job centre-one stop shop for public services – healthcare – bank – crèche – business incubation, hot tea and a bun. Probably in a shopping centre. Free transport pickup for old folks. Silver surfer centre. Sponsored by the various telecoms/IT companies. Plug, play, buy, meet, hot tea. It’s so bloody obvious why doesn’t it already exist? (What happened to the Electronic Village Hall idea? Apart from the shocking bad name.)

The c-word – culture – yes we need broadband for culture. Not just tv and pop videos, although if those open the door for wider use, so be it. Tim Berners Lee would not be amused I think – he had a profound vision of the Internet being a common, open platform for the benefit of society.

Raised question about consumption vs production. Surely our economy is bankrupt and the planet burning, because we spent too much on vacuous crap?  

Advertising makes money, yes, and can be sold abroad. As does tv content, sometimes. And games, and fashion. Perhaps I am old fashioned. But I also want to see the ‘really productive” (true global added value in a one-life-living sense) sectors being assisted and promoted, cherished and championed. Like the trains and the sewers in Victorian times (Peter Bazalgette’s great great grandfather). Although of course, most of that was private money. Or am I in danger here of focusing too much on money – at the expense of the non-commercial arts, culture? 

Can we distinguish consumption from production? True added value from zero-sum game? Passive consumption of ‘culture’ and services, from active engagement and entrepreneurship? Will any govt want the latter? Implication of trust, freedom, losing control. 

And can I, personally, engage with this and make it happen? (Why do I even doubt it?)

Who owns the future anyway?

Now off to Whole Education, Dr Anthony Seldon and Prof Guy Claxton. More answers I hope, more questions for sure.   

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