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PA's PA 21st August

PA's PA 21st August

Welcome to this week’s PA’s PA in a week in which the only political story in town remains the ever increasingly likelihood of a Jeremy Corbyn victory in the Labour leadership election.  Numerous Labour grandees from David Blunkett to Neil Kinnock have issued warnings for Labour not to return to the politics of the 1980’s.  Peter Mandelson allegedly went one step further with a bungled behind-the-scenes attempt to disrupt the whole election process.  Probably for everyone, 12 th September cannot come soon enough. 

Labour Leadership Candidates Speak on the Creative Industries

The Labour Leadership Candidates have used the latest issue of BECTU’s journal Stage, Screen & Radio to explain their ambitions for the creative industries. Each contender highlighted the fundamental role that the creative industries play in the UK’s economic and cultural development as well as admonishing cuts made by the Tory government to arts funding and the BBC.

Former Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, Andy Burnham, relayed a strong financial agenda, and commented that as leader he hopes to hopes to ensure finances are not a barrier to accessing careers in the creative sector. Burnham outlined the necessity of tackling Tory cuts to maintenance grants, extending financing opportunities to apprenticeships and stopping unpaid internships.

Yvette Cooper outlined her commitment to promoting and protecting investment in the arts at a local and national level by continuing the tax break system and investing in skills. She also emphasised the need to value the creative industries as a source of cultural enrichment and inspiration for communities across the UK.

Front runner Jeremy Corbyn, highlighted the need to increase investment in arts provisions at school level to maintain excellence in the UK’s cultural industries. In addition to this, he hopes to provide more affordable housing for the many creative industries workers in major cities across the UK. Reversing the Trade Union bill is also a big priority in order to protect the pay, pensions and terms and conditions of the creative industries workforce.

Finally, Liz Kendall stated that she will campaign with sector unions to ensure that everyone with talent has the chance to make the most of their gift. By ensuring proper pay, ending exploitation and fostering technical skills, she hopes to remove barriers to accessing opportunities in the sector. Kendall will give city regions and local authorities more powers to revive cultural education. And through working with European partners, ensure creative products are regulated to respect the artists’ ownership.  (We’re not totally sure what she means by this…).

Open Access

The Government appears to have used the depths of the summer holidays to spring on us a surprise review of open access.  Minister of State for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson, has charged Adam Tickell of the University of Birmingham to review the UK’s goals and priorities for open access in the Parliament, with the work to be completed by Christmas (with an interim report by the end of September!).  Reassurance has been given that the Minister shares the commitment of his predecessors to the existing principles but he feels that given it is now three years since the Finch Report was published, and with a new Government in place, a review is appropriate.   The PA is in close discussions with the Department and will be seeking an early meeting with Adam when he returns from holiday. 

International developments

The IPO has flagged with stakeholders the reforms underway in South Africa to their copyright law.  Concerns are that the draft Bill  will profoundly affect publishing in South Africa, especially educational publishing, and some of them could be considered as being in breach of South Africa’s international obligations under the Berne Convention and TRIPS.  The Copyright Team at the IPO is reviewing the Bill and the PA’s policy group is considering a short note into them.  The draft Bill can be found here: and the South African government is accepting comments until 16 th September. 

International Publishers Association Policy Director Jose Borghino has been announced as the organisation’s new Secretary General.  Commenting on his appointment, he said:  “The challenge to old business models that digitisation ushered in a decade ago is by no means over, and publishers must remain nimble and flexible. The IPA is the global publishing industry’s indispensable frontline defender in the face of multiple challenges and I look forward to leading the IPA team at this important time.”


Ofsted Chief Michael Wilshaw has made some positive comments this week regarding the value of textbooks.  In an article in The Guardian he says that too many schools are giving students ‘scrappy worksheets’ instead of trusting pupils with books to take home and return the next day.  The PA tweeted here

The Telegraph reports on comments from Lord Baker that GCSEs are finished.  The former education who introduced GCSEs, has said that the exams are not for this for this era and predicted that they will eventually “whither on the vine”. Echoing comments made by others, including Shadow Educaiton Secretary Tristram Hunt, he explains: "Not many have woken up to the fact that education now stretches to 18 years old. You have to ask yourself, 'What are we testing at 16?' Sixteen is no longer a departure for youngsters and very few go to work at that age. GCSE is no longer assessing performance at departure, and over the course of the next 10 years, it will disappear because it won't have much of a purpose. The real test will be at 18 to show what you have done”.   A further article defending the examination can be found here

This week we have:

Met with Nominet; discussed the Commission’s Digital Single Market plans with the IPO’s Copyright Team; met with the copyright policy leads at DCMS. 

Next week we will be:

Attending Beijing Book Fair where The PA’s Director of Publisher Relations will be speaking at a creative industries forum organised by London Book Fair; catching up with The Times’ arts correspondent; meeting with the British Library.