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GLENDA JACKSON: It's time to listen to the voice of artistic creativity

PUBLISHED: 16:29 20 February 2009 | UPDATED: 15:57 07 September 2010

Money, money, money. Apparently, it s failing to make the world go round. With trillions and billions being pumped into the global economy by all the governments of the developed world, a million seems small change. Presumably the only growing industry,

Money, money, money. Apparently, it's failing to make the world go round.

With trillions and billions being pumped into the global economy by all the governments of the developed world, a million seems small change.

Presumably the only growing industry, or industries, are those printing dollars, pounds, euros and yen.

And still, according to economists, business leaders, political commentators and, dare I say it, bankers, it's still not enough. But didn't they get us into this mess in the first place? So why should we listen to them now?

Perhaps it is time to start listening to those whose productivity is energised, motivated, brought to full flower, not by bottom lines or bonuses, but by the slave driver of artistic creativity.

I'm not arguing for all artists to be returned to cold, dreary garrets, although some of the greatest artists still managed to produce work without monetary reward or even support.

No, in a world where poverty of aspiration can be as restrictive as being financially challenged, perhaps this downturn can have a positive side, not for the creative artist necessarily.

As I've said, the creative spirit is a slave driver. If you're blessed with it, you have to obey. Write, paint, sculpt, compose, whether you will or no.

But for those of us who are recipients of those ideas which inevitably touch upon something in all of us if we're given the opportunity to see, hear, feel that which awakens what is essentially human and humane. That we are more than that which we own, or desire to own. That respect and dignity are not defined by the material but the priceless, almost - but not quite - indefinable values.

If all of the above is too Pollyanna for you, remember those images we see day in day out of real poverty, real starvation, real inhumanity.

If we spend all our time rehearsing how awful our present situation is, we'll never be able to make poverty history or save the planet, etc etc. We have to come together and weather it. And we can.

Glenda Jackson is the Labour MP for Hampstead & Highgate

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