To Government: Cut the arts, incite wrath of media

Posted on: June 22, 2010

In Monday’s (6/21) Telegraph (London), Rupert Christiansen reports, “On Friday the Arts Council announced a round of cuts to its clients, following the shaving of its own budget delivered by the [Department for Culture, Media, and Sport]. … But the real test begins over the summer, as DCMS ministers Jeremy Hunt and Ed Vaizey face the Star Chamber ahead of the autumn’s Comprehensive Spending Review. My advice is that they should adopt a course of pure cynicism. Drop the plea that the arts enrich society and ennoble the nation, that they heal the sick and turn the vicious virtuous, that they stimulate economic activity and really don’t cost anything at all. None of that stuff will wash. Instead they should focus on an argument which will be found far more compelling: punish the arts disproportionately and you will bring down upon you the hell of the opinion-forming media, the chattering classes and the urban liberal intelligentsia. Cutting the arts, in other words, can be guaranteed to earn you a lousy press and lose votes—and there’s nothing politicians dread more than that.”

Posted June 22, 2010