Snipe - The Scoop

Friday, 20 June 2008

Unison vote to withdraw funding from Rise Festival

A major trade union today voted to withdraw their funding from this year's Rise festival after the Mayor's team removed the anti-racist theme.

Delegates at the Unison National conference voted overwhelmingly in favour of removing their yearly contribution of £25,000 after being told about the change last week.

UNISON General Secretary, Dave Prentis, said:

“As long as the anti-racist message is removed from the Rise festival, Unison will have no part in funding it. London is a city of 270 nationalities. It is a city where different cultures should flourish, and racism should have no place. Sadly, on the streets of our capital many people face inequality, abuse and even violence on account of their race. The Rise festival was a chance to bring the community together in the fight against the far right."

Yesterday it emerged that Boris Johnson did not even know that the anti-racist message had been removed until the BBC told him about it on Tuesday. However, while Boris had been kept completely in the dark, unions were informed of the change as early as last week.

Unison claim that they were sent a statement by the mayor's team last week saying that it 'would no longer be appropriate to have overtly political campaigning groups involved' in the festival. 

Who pays and What for?

The news that Unison have decided to withdraw their funding, will cast further doubts over how this festival will be paid for. With no union funding, and with no political motivation for artists to perform for reduced fees, this year's festival will inevitably be much more expensive to put on. 

And with no political funding or purpose, many Londoners will question just why they should be funding this festival at all.


Mr. Stop Boris said...

Has anyone tried contacting any of the headlining musicians to ask if they are happy to continue to commit to perform for a discredited festival devoid of purpose?

It would be interesting to see if any of them are thinking of pulling out in protest...

The Tory Troll said...

Good idea Mr. S.B. I will get on it.

Anonymous said...

I hope they don't pull out. I mean it's bad enough to have Boris Johnson as Mayor without missing some of my favourite bands as well! Not that I would blame them for doing so of course.

karl said...

I would be interested to see what the bands make of it all.

stuart_graham said...

Shouldn't they wait to find out if Boris knows that he's dropped the anti-racist theme before they pull out? Or at least give him time to know that there ever was an anti racist festival?

Anonymous said...

Does anybody think that having an anti-racist festival does anything to combat racism? Surely it's just a self-congratulatory jamboree?

The Tory Troll said...

Of course it does. Why do you think the BNP hold their own version in RWB? Or on a different level why do Coca Cola or Carling sponsor festivals? It isn't so they can pat themselves on the back for being nice to the kids. They do it because it gets a message across.

a very public sociologist said...

Oh dear, how embarrassing. Poor old Boris was the last to know. That's the cherry on the fail cake.

Anonymous said...

You didn't seriously believe Boris when he pretended to know nothing about Rise dropping the anti-racism theme, did you? It's been in the papers, on tv and raised by Labour Assembly members. Of course he fucking knew.

Bors just played dumb to avoid addressing the issue. It's one of his favourite evasion techniques - and you're helping him do it.

Boris the loveable bumbler WON the election and he'll do it again. Boris the slimy deceiver will LOSE - so make sure people know the truth.

The Tory Troll said...

It was raised by the assembly on Wednesday but the BBC told him about it on Tuesday.

Sometimes it is obvious that he is deliberately pretending not to know about something. On this occasion he appeared to be genuinely lost. Watch the footage and see what you think.

Either way though it's not good.

angelneptunestar said...

He has been Mayor for less than 8 weeks, and there are bound to be some blips in the beginning. He has many extremely important issues to concentrate on, so maybe his aides just tootled off and fixed this while he was concentrating on something else.

Aren't you all happy though, because it shows there was no bad intent from Boris, although that was never likely to happen for an instant.

The Tory Troll said...

'He has many extremely important issues to concentrate on'

Like the Olympics?

barry rochford said...

More trouble ahead this week as many other unions are likely to pull out from this event and it may cost Boris the Blunderer even more as bands who would have performed for costs if it was for a cause, will want fees now.
Oh, dear! He's got some great advisers there.