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Live Webchat with Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries (Monday 31 January, 1.15-2.15pm)

(235 Posts)
HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 27-Jan-11 11:49:30

We're delighted to announce that Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, will be joining us for a webchat this Monday lunchtime.

Ed's responsibilities range from libraries and art galleries to broadband access, internet shock and film.

Ed says said that, ever since he was appointed last May, it has been a priority for him to keep in direct contact with people who want to ask questions, raise issues or make comments and suggestions.

So, do feel free to ask away - either on the day or, if you can't join us then, by posting your question in advance here.

Currently our main town library is closed for renovations for 12 months (?) and now we have heard that three of the other libraries in town are closing, how can we encourage children to read if we are striping away all the facilities which assist them to do so.

Seafront services including the life-saving beach patrol will lose nearly £125,000 and staff numbers are being cut, as Blackpool is once again attracting families in large numbers.

The events programme, which pulls in millions of visitors to Blackpool each year, is facing a £232,000 budget cut.

Also includes a £2.4m tourism and culture cut and £5.8m from Blackpool Services which includes parks and leisure

Why do I get the feeling that the current goverment would like to go back to the "good old days" when the poor were expected to be poor and uneducated with poor living conditions and poor health care and the rich
had access to the opportunities. The current goverment is doing a fantastic job of this by stripping away the facilities the poor access to better their lifes.

Oh sorry I forgot, I am a single mother so your goverment hates me anyhow.

Betelguese Sun 30-Jan-11 14:15:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

zebedeee Sun 30-Jan-11 15:22:09

As a former 'Librarian' yourself (Vice President librarian of the Oxford Union) isn't it ironic that you are condoning the decimation of the library service? Or is it a case that books should only be the preserve of those that can afford to pay for private libraries?

What memories of using the public libraries do you have as a child/ in your youth? For many people libraries have been formative to their future careers.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Sun 30-Jan-11 16:25:19

I did not know that Avocadoes about net neutrality. That is shocking.

LilyBolero Sun 30-Jan-11 16:47:26

One further question; I do hope that David Cameron's insane "Search for a Star" 'x-factor style competition for schools' plan to revolutionise music teaching in schools has been scrapped. As a professional musician, I can't imagine anything worse - X-factor is the worst example of the commercial world of pop music, and the idea of introducing it to schools as 'education' is madness. It is reducing something which is part of our cultural history to the triviality which pervades competitions such as the x-factor, in which it is widely acknowledged that the only winner is Simon Cowell.

Please can you confirm that this will not be happening?

Mr Vaizey,

Do you think that Rupert Murdoch is a fit and proper person to be given even more power over the British media?

Go on, be brave and answer... off the record, you understand (no one is listening in, honestly).

Crumblemum Mon 31-Jan-11 09:05:52

What are you doing (as a Minister) that makes you proud?

thewook Mon 31-Jan-11 09:26:22

How is my child going to learn to read with no local library? How are any children going to learn to read with no local library?

Eleison Mon 31-Jan-11 09:48:03

At least one pro-libraries campaigning group is acting to subject your department to judicial review for failing in your legal duty under the 1964 Museums and Public Libraries Act to "superintend, and promote the improvement of, the public library service provided my local authorities."

My question is this: if a significant number of libraries are transferred to the control of voluntary organisations (assuming that such organisations are forthcoming) how will any accountability remain -- not just the accountability of individual organisations for their library's service, but accountability to our community as a whole for national provision?

Both the National Audit Office and the Information Commissioner have warned that such fracturing of provision, presented as heightened control by communities, is actuallly eroding public accountability. Gus O'Donnell has ordered an inquiry into localism/big society reforms that risk eroding principles of transparency and ministerial accountability.

What do you say to the worry that, not only are we losing libraries, we are losing mechanisms for collective control over the quality of provision?

LindsayWagner Mon 31-Jan-11 09:48:31

Hello Ed

Very pleased to see that you're pushing for ISPs to adopt network filters as a default, so that only those who want porn will get it. I think we've barely begun to consider what the impact on children, and thence society, of this tide of increasingly-misogynist porn will be.

Clearly the ISPs don't welcome this move - so can you explain in detail how you're going to ensure that they don't wriggle out of it by retaining the 'opt-out' system, whereby users have to actively choose to turn porn off.

Most organisations involved in child protection seem to agree that a filter which isn't a default filter is no filter at all.

On the same subject, how do you propose to convince those conspiracy theorists who tout the 'thin end of wedge' argument wrt broader censorship?

LindsayWagner Mon 31-Jan-11 09:53:18

Gah dammit there's more:

You seemed to hint that if the industry didn't adopt a default filter voluntarily, you would legislate in the next communications bill, which I think is due in a couple of years time. Can you confirm that this is the case and give a time-frame for action by the industry?

Thanks very much.

policywonk Mon 31-Jan-11 09:54:02

Hello Mr Vaizey. Can you tell us exactly what you're asking the big ISPs to do around the issue of children's access to adult material on the internet? An off-the-record briefing a few weeks back had you telling ISPs that you were considering legislation on the issue, but your public stance always seem to be that you'd prefer a voluntary code of conduct. It would be great if you could clarify which of these two options you're leaning towards.

policywonk Mon 31-Jan-11 09:54:57

Ah, cross-post with Lindsay!

madamimadam Mon 31-Jan-11 10:47:35

As questions about the destruction of the library system have been asked and Lily Bolero's already made the point about arts funding, I'd like to amplify bitzermaloney's question (as I won't be able to make it for the webchat):

How are we supposed to believe that the government's decision about the BSkyB bid and NewsCorp's phone-tapping scandal are being handled properly when:

1. Rupert Murdoch was David Cameron's first visitor to No 10

2. Jeremy Hunt has had at least one meeting with James Murdoch before he was moved on to handling the bid.

3. David Cameron met Rebecca Brooks and James Murdoch for lunch over Christmas.

(Was the BSkyB bid discussed at this Christmas lunch? And if you don't know whether it was or not, don't you think as Minister for CCCI, you should?)

And, Avocadoes, I didn't know that about ISPs. That's appalling.

But thanks for coming on at least, Mr Vaizey. Just hope you'll take on board the comments made on this thread hmm

LilyBolero Mon 31-Jan-11 11:02:03

Can I please be very cheeky and add another question - it's one I would ask to any member of the government, and is a more general question .

When an election returns a result of no party having a majority, what mandate does this give the eventual government, and do you think this gives them the right to introduce sweeping reforms that featured in nobody's manifesto, as is happening right now? And please don't answer with 'we lost the election, we couldn't deliver our manifesto' as that is SUCH a patronising answer that I have heard from both Tory and LibDems - surely there is NO mandate to introduce legislation and massive reform that no-one has heard before the election (eg NHS reforms and forest sell-offs, not to mention the downright u-turns - VAT, Child benefit etc).

elkiedee Mon 31-Jan-11 11:37:36

I have a question about your government advocating keeping libraries open by the use of volunteers. How are volunteers meant to keep a roof over their head and feed themselves and their children without paid work? And of course. And if they have children, who looks after the kids - we're not going to be able to afford pay to volunteer (childcare, travel).

Madsometimes Mon 31-Jan-11 11:38:49

Hi Mr Vaizey

I would like to ask about charging policies in National Museums.

Jeremy Hunt has asked museums to think of new ways to raise revenue as their budgets have been cut. He has not given them permission to introduce entrance charges to their permanent collections, but they are allowed to charge for special exhibitions, as has been the case since 2001. His stance was set out in this letter.

The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich has decided to introduce a £10 fee to access the Royal Observatory's Flamsteed House, and the Meridian Line. Flamsteed House contains the the Harrison Clocks, which are an important part of the permanent collection of the National Maritime Museum. These clocks saved countless lives at sea, by enabling mariners to determine longitude precisely.

Taken from the website of the DCMS:

Free entry for everyone to England's national museums is a central part of our cultural policy.

In London, visits to museums that used to charge were up by over 135%, including
National Maritime Museum up 197%.

Will the DCMS do anything to prevent the NMM from charging visitors access to this important part of their permanent collection? I understand that the NMM will still have free entry for most of the museum, but if they charge for access to this important piece of our Maritime History, it goes against the guidelines set out by your department.

Querelous Mon 31-Jan-11 12:14:42

Mr Vaizey,

What do you think of the cuts made to the World Service?

Do you think there is enough in-depth
coverage of International news in the UK at the moment?

Is the UK in danger of sleep walking further into a myopic, dumbed-down, celebrity-obsessed world view?

The World Service is respected internationally as unbiased, accurate and fair, a large part of this is due to it's local language coverage in an increasingly polarised and unstable regions of the world. Many of these regions are reliant on radio. What are the security implications for the UK and British nationals / companies engaging in of cutting for overseas trade of cutting for example the Somali, Swahili or Russian language coverage?

Will cuts to this vital bastion of democracy not ultimately lead to an increase in the threat of terrorism om our shores?

The UK now has a multi-racial population, how will their needs for international news be served?

Querelous

gloriadepieromp Mon 31-Jan-11 12:26:00

Hi Ed,

It's Gloria De Piero MP, shadow culture minister. Heard you were taking questions today so wanted to submit a few of my own. Am sure some fellow mumsnetters will be interested in your answers too.

As you know hundreds of libraries are under threat of closure. Have you looked into how or whether children's reading groups might be affected?

Many of the mums I know say their young ones can't get through picture books fast enough at toddling age. They say their local library is really helpful in the early years. Have you picked this up at all?

There's a growing issue with employers only advertising online - when people are out of work and don't have a computer at home, they are advised to go to the local library to look for vacancies. Given 1 in 4 don't have access don't have a computer at home, libraries are more important than ever aren't they?

As the minister for libraries what kind of powers do you have to stop a library closing?

Querelous Mon 31-Jan-11 12:29:36

If you can answer only 2 of my questions please make it the one on security implications and the one on terrorism.

OhBuggerandArse Mon 31-Jan-11 12:35:26

Mr Vaizey,

Given that the culture, communications and creative industries are overwhelmingly staffed by arts and humanities graduates, how do you expect them to survive in a future in which funding to teach these subjects has been removed from the universities?

falsemessageoflethargy Mon 31-Jan-11 12:35:48

Hello Mr Vaizey - can I just ask - how are we supposed to form he Big Society and be 'all in it together' when the only places that all types of people mix - ie the library and surestart centres are being closed?

In my borough - there is a great socioeconomic mix and schools, hospitals, even supermarkets are divided on socioeconomic lines - literally the only places you might meet someone different to you are the surestart centres and the libraries where you can find community in the old and very real sense.

How does the removal of these sorts of places encourage a Big Society?

GastonTheLadybird Mon 31-Jan-11 12:45:36

Ed, welcome to Mumsnet, perhaps you could tell me why you are single handedly destroying arts in the UK?

With cuts in funding to the Arts Council, abolition of Film Council (which made more money for the UK than is cost - crazy) and budget cuts at local authorities, where do you expect organisations to get the money from?

The cuts are hitting many individuals hard, especially with inflation rises meaning that most people are having real term salary cuts do you genuinely think that this will make up for the short fall?

Not going to be much left for you to be minister of at this rate.

Biblioqueen Mon 31-Jan-11 12:47:36

I've been a professional librarian for 30 years, Mr Vaizey, and I want to ask you how you can square your conscience with the part you've played in bringing about the devastation of a key public resource which has, since 1850, offered such vital access to information and educational resources for people who are otherwise denied these through no fault of their own.

Your government insults both our profession and library users deeply in suggesting that volunteers, however keen, can replace the knowledge and expertise that librarians offer their communities.This ill-conceived idea is completely unworkable.

jugglingjo Mon 31-Jan-11 12:58:10

What percentage of libraries are likely to close under the proposed plans ?

From my experience as both an early years teacher and mother what impact do you think these closures will have on children's development, including their emerging love of learning ?

It has been said that for every pound spent on good quality early years provision £8 is saved to society in later years, through higher levels of economic activity and less expenditure on both benefits and crime.

In view of this how wise is it to close both sure start centres and libraries ?

(As a family we will also miss the opportunity to stand on the meridian line at Greenwich ! How much will it now be for children to experience this ? We love the new observatory experience at Greenwich, and have visited many times in recent years)

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