Thoughts on 2015
A long time ago (in the 1960s) in a galaxy far far away (Bristol) my parents went to the theatre (The Old Vic) and sat next to the Prime Minister (Harold Wilson).
I had thought, until last week, that this kind of thing was the remnant of a kindlier and more civilised society where pre-IRA bombing campaign and security issues meant that the Prime Minister of the day could enjoy a night off and an evening out without an accompanying cast of armed security guards and fixers.
That was until last week when I went to the premiere of The Force Awakens and was pleasantly surprised to see the Prime Minister, his wife and children, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, his wife and children all having a family night off to enjoy this latest blockbuster. Even though David Cameron was due in Brussels to re-negotiate Britain’s terms of membership of the European Union for the following morning he was able to join in the escapism for a few hours and just be a father with his kids enjoying a family film.
Do not let the stories about 'booing' the Chancellor fool you. When J.J Abrams confirmed that the Prime Minister was present there was general cheering and likewise when he confirmed the Chancellor’s presence. There were some very limited, pantomime boos, in full seasonal spirit, which were far from any considered expression of political disapproval. From where I was sitting, it certainly did not seem to spoil their enjoyment.
Most of the film and the post production work was undertaken in England because of benign tax rules created or maintained by the Chancellor. Whilst the finer and more arcane points of film finance tax legislation were probably lost on most (if not all of the audience) the very real contribution that the creative industries make to this country, and its reputation, as a result of the current fiscal structures was not.
So last week I had an element of my faith restored and was delighted that as we draw to the end of 2015 with all its trials and tribulations that the world did not stop turning as the two most powerful men in the country chose to spend their evening watching a film with their families.