70 years ago, thousands of men launched the most significant attack of the Second World War and started the end of one of the world’s most devastating conflicts. D-Day (and the D-Days that followed 6 June 1944) turned the tide and pushed back the looming invasion of Hitler’s troops. I am not about to describe the detail of those days as this is not a history blog but rather wanted to recognise the importance of this and other events in what we do and how we do it.
Both of my grandfathers were in D-Day and survived and I am immensely proud of them for being prepared to risk their lives for others, something that I would struggle with from my pampered position as a middle-class UK citizen. More than this, I am immensely proud of all those, in D-Day and in all conflicts, who are prepared to put their lives on the line to ensure peace at home.
From a business point of view, the UK being at war can be a significant influence on workload, on funding and on engagement. When at war (and I appreciate that war is not the same now as it was 70 years ago), activity, news, money, politics is focussed on the conflict. The events sector changes too (and again, it is important to note that there wasn’t really an events sector as such 70 years ago but there were definitely events!) with market needs shifting to need more engagement, more community cohesion, clearer cultural identity and encouraging the indomitable British Blitz spirit. However, there is no room for wastage or flippancy or vanity projects that are just about ego. Many of the large events that we see now would now be possible as they would bring too many people together in one place and be too big a target for terrorists or enemy action.
Funding, particularly with a number of our clients who are councils, would be diverted to the war effort. If we remember back to 2012/13 when the big government cuts hit home, Somerset County Council made a decision to cut all of their arts and events funding so that they could focus their spend on other priorities including fighting flood waters. Imagine how out local, regional and national councils and government would respond if we had to double or even triple our UK defence budgets!
So I can only thank my grandfathers and all those who were involved in D-Day for their part in making our society what it is now. I thank them for enabling me to have my privileged position as a UK citizen who is employed in a wonderful but non-essential sector, who has the ability to express herself freely, who lives in a society of tolerance, openness and diversity. Without them being prepared to give our lives, none of this would be possible. Thank you Grandad! Thank you Granf!
Claire Eason Bassett, Managing Director, Mackerel Sky