Of course we could use more money - we had far more applicants to our National portfolio than we could afford to support. Yes, there is more to do in terms of the balance of the Arts Council's investment and yes, progress is slow - but it is purposeful and targeted. Overall investment outside London has actually increased in this National portfolio round.
Arts funding is essential in keeping art accessible and affordable for everyone. It is essential in providing young people safe spaces in their communities. It is essential in providing economic and cultural assets to towns. It is essential in ensuring our cultural climate is diverse, fresh and exciting. Art should not be dull or inaccessible and enjoying art should not be expensive - and without sufficient funding, it will inevitably become these things.
Whenever I see Ed Miliband trying to pretend he's a human, I'm always reminded of a particular scene in Mark Tavener's criminally underrated sitcom Absolute Power in which the oily sultan of spin Charles Prentiss (not so much played by as written for Stephen Fry) is sizing up dowdy Tory shadow minister Joanne Standing (basically a pilot version of The Thick of It's Nicola Murray).
Darryl Lauster is the sort of American you wish there were more of, those with a political memory longer than the last election cycle or even last year. He is fascinated by the construction of American mythology and the history of it seen from the privileged position of the straight white religious male.
As the Rolling Stones celebrate the 50th anniversary of their first album, we're entering a new era where these stars - stripped of their original plastic edifice and/or good looks as youngsters - are only slowly gaining recognition for their art, as opposed to their original personas, which is standing the test of time.
Personal experiences of hipsters are a far cry from Williamsburg, New York but instead it was like watching pockets of East London being swallowed up by a swarm of skinny jean wearing, flat white drinking locusts. As preened men were dubbed "Metrosexuals" and "scallies" evolved into "Chavs"; in my circle "Indie" became "Hipster".
As a student, the money you invest in affordable in art may well perish like the groceries you sought to avoid budgeting for, but the fair caters for a demographic with a disposable income. So see art at this level as an indulgence to be enjoyed later in life rather a scheme to help stay off budgeting.
Artist Caroline Jane Harris is inspired by the beauty of nature. "It is humans' relationship with nature" she explains, "my work is about traditional skills and modern technology used together; how they contrast each other and complement each other at the same time, which to me reflects our relationship with nature".