The Baftas 2017: the subplot

To watch the BAFTAs last night was to be reminded that we live in troubled times.

Several acceptance speeches referenced, with thinly veiled urgency, strained US-UK relations, Brexit, threats to arts funding and the challenge posed by the policies of both governments to the values of the creative community.

Actors, directors and comedians, from Emma Stone to Ken Loach, and Kenneth Lonergan to Daniel Molloy were by turn apologetic, defiant and, above all, united in their belief in the humanity that binds us together as a greater power than the forces driving us apart.

It was an unusually political affair.

And perhaps that was inevitable in these turbulent days.

But what has that to do with the business of public relations?

One striking thing was the way in which successive award-winners seized their opportunity to speak out on the issues that mattered to them.

They took their moment and spoke from the heart to assert another ‘world view’; one where values of welcoming strangers, loving others more than oneself and transcending borders through compassion are the ones that matter.

Indeed, the point was made that the ability to tell alternative stories to the prevalent narrative has never been more vital or more precious.

It was a stark reminder, if one were needed, that authentic narrative matters and that having a platform is a responsibility as well as a privilege; that the stories we choose to tell (and live by) say an awful lot about our integrity and the world we shape.

That storytelling is imperative to our survival.

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