Ed Vaizey in The Times and Simon Heffer in the Telegraph both have strongly worded articles about the Government's Cultural Green Paper today. You know something is bad when the normally mildmannered Ed Vaizey calls it "Stalinist". And when Vaizey and Heffer get together they're a pretty powerful duo!
I find it typical of Labour's values that they are willing to spend £200 million on a new British Film Centre, and yet won't contribute to the upkeep of many of our deteriorating national treasures.
All this puts arts funding in the spotlight. Simon Heffer argues that "Leftists justify public funding of the arts as a means for it to shrug off "elitism"." But later in his piece he admits he does support some public funding of the arts - things like Radio 3. This illustrates the trouble people on the right have on this subject - many are happy for public money to go into the arts - as long as it's things that they approve of.
The arts and 'culture' mean many things to many different people. What is one person's art is another person's philistinism. Like Heffer, I am a traditionalist in this area and regard things like modern art as no such thing. Like him I would like to see this Green Paper consigned to a dustbin in Cockspur Street. We don't need to be told what is good for us by the government. If they left the private sector to get on with it and stopped interfering in this way, the arts would be so much better off.
Note: Tomorrow's HEFFER CONFRONTED is on this subject. As I agreed with Heffer's article I had to use a bit of ingenuity to conjure up a debate!