Thanks to this article in the Sussex Express newspaper, we know that the leader of the UKIP group in West Sussex is upset at the way in which the EU appears to be spending some of our money. This is not really a shock, however in todays article Mike Glennon, opposition leader on West Sussex County Council and UKIP county councillor for Lancing, is quoted saying: “The examples of British taxpayers’ money being used to fund fatuous EU initiatives are seemingly endless. In this instance it is to fund video games.” The article is a bit confused presumably because it relies on a rather superficial report from the Tax Payers Alliance that may not have been read very carefully. The TPA review is of an initiative called Creative Europe which is the European Commission’s framework programme to support the culture and audiovisual sectors. The programme follows on from the previous Culture Programme and Media Programme, it has a total budget of £1Bn which is 9% higher than the other two programmes combined, so not a huge departure from the past. These programmes are in any case decided upon by the European Union which includes a substantial number of MEPs from the same Party as Cllr Glennon so he really should have a fuller picture than this article suggests.
Creative Europe’s stated aims are to:
- Help the cultural and creative sectors seize the opportunities of the digital age and globalisation;
- Enable the sectors to reach their economic potential, contributing to sustainable growth, jobs, and social cohesion;
- Give Europe’s culture and media sectors access to new international opportunities, markets, and audiences.
This will, specifically, involve providing funding for:
- 2,500 artists and cultural professionals,
- 2,000 cinemas
- 800 films
- 4,500 book translations
The Sussex Express article repeating the comments by TPA suggests that £2.4M of EU money was used to fund video games last year, and that £270,333 of this sum has come from British Taxpayers. This is despite the fact that the TPA make it clear that we cannot know how much British Money has been spent on this initiative, and deeper analysis reveals that the funding is for a 3-4 year period, not one year alone. The TPA report lists the 29 video games that were funded, highlighting 3 of them because of the sums involved. Sadly the one game out of 29 that were supported through this initiative that was developed in the UK was missed out, perhaps because it only received £57,000. That game is being developed here in Brighton & Hove, a mere 10 miles from the home patch of Mike Glennon. The company concerned is called Plug-In Media Limited who were granted funds to help develop a game called Create World:
“CreateWorld (working title) is a suite of connected mobile apps filled with interactive toys, games and missions, and conceived with the purpose of gamifying creative play for 6-12 year olds. The apps provide an anarchic world where kids are free to express themselves, and each action they take has a creative outcome.Set in a world which has had the colour and its creative spirit sucked away by a race of evil ‘Cleaners’, you must travel through CreateWorld’s environments, taking part in focused creative missions in order to restore colour, light, music and imagination. By doing so you will free the captured rulers of CreateWorld, its Creative Idols who will restore creative equanimity to the lost populace. By playing through CreateWorld’s compelling and original games, your engagement in the world will deliver beautiful creative by-products: images, music, animation, models, graphic design, video – the output is diverse and your efforts are always rewarding.CreateWorld demystifies and champions creativity both formally and informally and can be used both at home and in progressive classrooms to support the creative curriculum. It provides an appealing starting point for kids might be cautious of creativity.”
Councillor Mike Glennon might prefer to see Computer Games for use in Schools being developed by Governments more directly, or by commercial organisations that try to find other ways of funding the development of their games such as product placement ads. Alternatively he might not appreciate that Computer Games can be used to help educate our children. He might also prefer to see jobs created actually in Lancing. However I think it is important for newspapers and politicians to dig a bit deeper than simply regurgitating the home page of a lobby group like the Tax Payers Alliance, who appear to have overlooked the one British success in this short story!