JOHN Lennon was brought up by his Aunt Mimi, in Liverpool.
When he told her that he wanted to be a musician, she told him he should get a proper job.
In the half century since then the music industry has grown so that it now provides an extra 130,000 jobs and contributes £5bn to the UK economy, with £1.3bn from export earnings.
It is a great British success story.
In fact it is estimated that the “creative industries” taken together contribute £1 out of every £12 of Britain’s national income.
This is a figure that is growing year on year.
It is surprising therefore that Patricia Hewitt became the first Trade Minister to make a speech about these creative industries this week.
Today’s economy is very different from when Lennon was a boy.
In my own constituency of Cardiff West, the largest traditional manufacturer now employs fewer than 100 people.
Many of the new jobs are in these creative industries, whether it be broadcasting, advertising, design and publishing or computer games.
Every high street has a DVD and video shop.
Every supermarket sells CDs.
Last year more money was spent on downloading mobile phone ring tones than on buying CD singles.
In Cardiff thousands of jobs depend on the creative industries directly and indirectly, from the newsreader or cameraman at the BBC, to the ticket office staff at the Cardiff International Arena, and the Director of the new Millennium Centre, to the cleaner at St. David’s Hall.
An aerial photograph of Cardiff today shows that the smokestacks of 50 years ago are largely gone.
The lesson for us is that unlike Aunt Mimi we should encourage creativity in every school and workplace.
Britain’s future economic success will depend on our ability to exploit our people’s creative potential, improve innovation, and create more jobs and wealth for the UK.