Blooming Rose or black hole?

rosetheatre1That which we call a rose, by any other name

Would smell as sweet…………..

I am sure Shakespeare had it right, but he was talking horticulturally and poetically and his Rose wasn’t always coming cap in hand to the Council looking for yet more money. The Executive this evening voted to accept a ‘new deal’ for a further £600k per annum for the next three years. Next Tuesday the Scrutiny Panel meets to examine their reasons for giving them the money. Of course they won’t call it that, but ‘that which we call a handout by any other name would cost as much’ (Johnston).

I know that many people think this is a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money. It is also the case that the Rose has its passionate devotees, who have been very voluble of late in the press and elsewhere. Now’s the time to let councillors know what you think – are you happy for this amount of your Council Tax to be devoted to this use for the next three years when we are short of money to pay for other services that cannot be funded any other way?

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About pauljohnston

Elected as Conservative councillor in Surbiton Hill, Kingston upon Thames in 1998. Re-elected 2002 and 2006. Former parliamentary candidate in Lancashire and Birmingham. Ceased to be a Councillor (temporarily?) in 2010. Active among Residents' Associations in Surbiton Hill and among residents in social housing generally. Former teacher of History at St. Brendan's College Bristol and Head of History and Politics at the London Oratory School. Worked with Sutton Trust running summer schools for sixth formers at Oxford University from 1997-2000 aiming to improve uptake of places from pupils from state schools which sent very few applicants to Oxbridge.
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2 Responses to Blooming Rose or black hole?

  1. Charlotte Vere says:

    I am no ‘passionate devotee’ but a local Tory activist who thinks that the Rose is a huge asset to our community – I have seen plays at the Rose (including one in which a young star from our community had a role) and have been to two different school event there. I think the scrutiny Panel needs to ensure that the amount doesn’t increase and that the Rose resources are being used to their full, but for me, it is a good use of council tax funds.

    I hope we can look for savings elsewhere.

    Charlotte Vere
    King Road KT2

  2. pauljohnston says:

    I can understand how you feel and nothing would please me more than to see the Rose successful and I believe it can be made so. And I share your views about the quality of some of the productions there. But if you’ve read my later post about the Scrutiny Panel meeting, you may well understand that there is more to this question than ‘Theatre or no theatre?’.
    It probably could be run differently and in a less costly fashion, but questions about whether this had been considered were simply brushed off by Cllr. Osbourne. As the power lies with the Executive there is no way the Scrutiny Panel alone can stop it spending more either now or in the future. To your final point I can only reply that, as this package is not in this year’s budget it will already have to be paid for by borrowing or by ‘making savings elsewhere’ for the next three years at least.
    I want the Rose to be, as you say ‘an asset to the community’ – but I am not convinced that this is how to go about it.

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