Wednesday 26 November 2003

And about time too

It looks as though the 7:84 Theatre Company may be on the way out:
THE FUTURE of one of Scotland’s longest-established theatre companies was under serious threat last night as the Scottish Arts Council said it would no longer guarantee the group’s £200,000 annual grant.
This outfit is one of the most pernicious in the land:
7:84 was founded with an explicitly socialist and idealistic goal of taking political theatre to the people.
That's exactly what it has done for 30 years and I would guess that its performances have played no small part in attracting so many young Scots to socialism.

The company's title reflects their claim that "7 % of the population of Great Britain owns 84% of the capital wealth." Much analysis has been made of such claims since that statistic was published by the Economist in 1966. Nowadays we know to make allowances for movements between wealth groups over a whole lifetime, to take account of income as well as capital, to recognise the fact that most shares are owned by institutions that are in turn investing on behalf of the broad mass of the population, to calculate the capital value of taxpayer-financed, inflation-linked public sector pensions, and to work out the capital that would be required to fund millions of welfare recipients over their lifetimes. The 7:84 people also fail to distinguish between economics and politics. Economic wealth is the result of freely entered into contracts unless politics interferes. Perhaps one of their writers could come up with a performance that examines the consequences of 67 politicians in the Scottish Parliament having total political control over 5 million subjects.