Friday, 7 June 2013

Galloway fights closure of three museums

George Galloway has put down a parliamentary motion and written to the Secretary of State for Arts and Culture over the threatened closure of three museums, including the National Media Museum in Bradford.

Along with the media museum, two others in the same group - the National Railway Museum in York and the Museum of Science and Industry - are threatened with cuts or closure in the forthcoming spending review. Galloway points out that the three are integral to Britain's cultural heritage, have outstanding records which would be even better with more adequate funding. The closure of the media museum, he went on, would have a devastating effect on attempts to revive Bradford's city centre.

Motion: Threat of closure to northern museums

That this House views with alarm the possibility of the closure of the National Media Museum in Bradford, the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester and the National Railway Museum in York as a result of spending cuts to be announced in the forthcoming spending review; notes that these three museums play an exceptionally important role in making available to people, particularly in the north of England, the wonderful heritage Britain has in all of these areas; further notes that all three museums have outstanding records which would be even better with more adequate funding; further notes that the closure or rundown of the National Media Museum in Bradford would have a devastating effect on the attempts to revive Bradford’s city centre which has been blighted by widespread closures , the derelict state of the iconic Bradford Odeon and the failure thus far of the Westfield Broadway project; believes cuts to funding jeopardising the future of these museums would not only be an act of gross and entirely unnecessary philistinism but also represent discrimination against the north of England; and opposes wholeheartedly any cuts to funding of these three iconic museums.

Letter: Dear Secretary of State,

I have read with alarm this morning of the possible closure of the National Media Museum in Bradford, the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester and the National Railway Museum in York, as a result of spending cuts to be announced in the forthcoming spending review.

I trust I will not have to persuade you of the enormous role all three of these museums have played in making available to people, particularly in the North of England, Britain’s wonderful heritage in these various areas. All three have an outstanding record, held back only by too little funding, not too much. To threaten these museums with closure would be an act of the grossest philistinism, but it would also represent a policy clearly discriminating against the north of England. And let’s be clear the cuts which would close these museums really is that proverbial drop in the ocean that will make virtually no noticeable difference to the government’s deficit.

In addition, the closure or rundown of the National Media Museum in Bradford would deal a hammer blow to the efforts to revive a city centre that has been so badly blighted over the last few years. There has already been closure after closure in the city centre, the iconic Odeon has been allowed to rot and there is the most enormous hole where Westfield have failed to build a promised shopping centre. If the city centre is to revive, it is vital that investment is put into establishing a cultural quarter in which the National Media Museum will be a centrepiece. The Media Museum needs more investment, not less.

I look forward to your urgent response.