Coffee House Culture House Daily

No, Sajid Javid isn’t a luvvie. That’s why he’ll be a great Culture Secretary

14 April 2014

7:58 PM

14 April 2014

7:58 PM

I am taken to task by the Guardian’s Media Monkey for celebrating Sajid Javid’s elevation (as per the poster above) a little too much – and not caring very much that the new Culture Secretary is no expert in the arts. It argues the following:-

Javid’s lack of cultural hinterland – his Who’s Who entry lists no recreations – was acknowledged but relegated to the 14th paragraph of Fraser Nelson’s Telegraph profile (“he will stuggle to talk about his great love of the performing arts … It is certainly an odd casting – Javid’s expertise is in finance”) and the 23rd of Andrew Pierce’s huzzah in the Mail: “His knowledge of sport may be scant – he claims to support Manchester United – and few of his friends have heard him talking about culture and the arts.” All irrelevant, apparently.

I did observe in my first Tweet on Javid’s promotion that sending Javid to culture is like sending Ben Bernanke to run Glastonbury. An image which the ever-inventive @GeneralBoles was able to conjure up more vividly…

As I said in that Telegraph column,  Javid has an excuse for not having an expansive ‘cultural hinterland’. He grew up in a household where it was a treat to hire a video for an evening – he wasn’t dragged off to the opera to learn how to mix with the intelligentsia, as the young Ed Miliband would have been. But I’m not saying Javid’s lack of luvvie credentials are irrelevant. I’m saying they are a positive. My concern is that he’d be wasted on that department, not that he’s not good enough.

[Alt-Text]


The last thing you want in that job is a luvvie who thinks his job is to nick money from taxpayers (average salary £25k) and subsidise the pastimes of the rich. An impartial observer, like Javid, would ask why on earth Britain’s thriving arts need state funding at all.

The government’s arts budget has been chopped right down, and the luvvies then said it would be a disaster. Instead, Britain has entered a golden age of the arts right now. The Globe theatre, for example, is laying on the best Shakespeare in the world right now – it requires zero subsidy and indeed makes about a million quid in annual profit. The Globe demonstrates the falseness of the choice between commercial successful and artistically brilliant.

Each week, The Spectator’s peerless arts sections review the very best – and often, broadcasting excepted, most of the best art is laid on by independent gallery owners or theatre groups and financed entirely by audiences and independent sponsors. No need for the government.

Javid is the sort of hard-headed radical who may conclude that there is no need for a Culture department and that a lot of money can be saved in returning things to the pre-Major days. Here’s hoping.

UPDATE Kate Maltby tweets that The Spectator was behind state funding for arts in the 1950s. Maybe. But Kingsley Amis had it right in 1985 when he offered, in  The Spectator, this definition of the Arts Council:-

 Grants and bursaries from this detestable and destructive body in effect pay producers, painters, writers and such in advance. This is a straight invitation to them to sod the public, whose ticket-money they are no longer obliged to attract, and to seek the more immediate approval of their colleagues and friends instead. The system encour- ages a habit of thought whereby ‘creative’ people can be divided into artists, who deliver serious, important, innovative, dif- ficult stuff and so of course have to have financial help, and entertainers, whose work is easy to understand, enjoyable and therefore popular — you know, like rock music and John Betjeman’s poetry, and whose very title to the label ‘creative’ is shaky. Thus an organisation created to foster art and bring it to the public turns out to be damaging to art and cutting it off from the public. Only those in the trade profit.

More Spectator for less. Stay informed leading up to the EU referendum and in the aftermath. Subscribe and receive 15 issues delivered for just £15, with full web and app access. Join us.




Show comments
  • spurnlad

    ‘ A STATE FUNDED ARTIST, IS LITTLE BETTER THAN A PROSTITUTE’ Robert Heinlein.

    Why should the state; Lotteries etc pay for the arts to be funded. If
    the National Opera can’t make it pay, let it go under. If theatre groups
    can’t get people in by performing rubbish, let them fold. Museums and national monuments can have all the money saved by ending the pretense of these ‘artists’. – DISCUSS..

  • Kevin T

    The history of the Eady levy and its effect on British cinema sums up nicely what state funding does. From 1957 till 1985 every UK cinema ticket had a special tax on it which was used to pay for a fund to finance British film productions. In 1957 we had a flourishing film industry. By 1985, everything at your local ABC or Odeon was made in Hollywood. Its enduring legacy is the likes of Mutiny On The Buses, Dracula AD 1972 and Confessions From A Holiday Camp.

  • justejudexultionis

    Only a Tory could argue that an obvious antipathy towards culture was a good thing in a culture secretary.
    VOTE INDEPENDENCE 2014 TO FREE YOURSELF FROM TORY MONEY-WORSHIP
    SAOR ALBA

    • ItinerantView

      Ah yes ‘independence’ and a ‘seamless’ transition within the EU, beholden to corporations and banks.
      No money-worshiping or corruption there.

  • JoeDM

    Nothing on his islamic cultural background which would explain a lot !!!

  • http://www.soidog.org/en/about-soi-dog/ Muzeli

    What did the public sector (who really runs Rochdale) offer white working class girls who were raped and abused? Oh yes a 10 year wait for a trial:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2526896/Revealed-Catalogue-police-failures-let-Rochdale-sex-grooming-gangs-flourish-claims-damning-police-report.html

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      That DM article is dated December 2013, and still no serious action on the part of the authorities. Then the Cyril Smith story broke, so let`s see if that moves Rochdale paedophelia to the front burner.
      Britisher pals, you need to realise that paedophelia runs through the upper stratum of British society like Blackpool through rock. Politicians, entertainers, celebrities, opinion leaders… it goes to the very top, and I do mean the very top. If the full extent were realised, the morale of the British people would go into a black hole. As it is, Authority is letting it dribble out piecemeal; Savile, Smith…. Heath? Oh no, have I let the cat out of the bag?

  • La Fold

    Ive seen several posts commentating on how the French, German, Italians and even the Austrians are light years ahead of us in culture. Cant help but feel this is a simplistic and tired cliche.
    Having been to France, Germany and Italy a fair bit I wouldnt say this is true at all. The french organise a Jazz expo or an Irish folk band and its called culture. Your avaerage punter in Berlin is more interested in Techno than Wagner and the Italians are more likely to talk to you about football than Fellini.
    The idea of the cultured continental is at times nothing more than a figment of the Anglo saxon imagination.

  • paulus

    Well its good job you asked that of Conservatives instead of the Liberals are the answer would have been a bare arsed spanking and a faux ride on a beast. And no one believing youve been rogered by a demanted child abuser.

  • Raw England

    Make me Culture Secretary.

    I’d be RADICAL alright.

    Also, its interesting (well, not interesting, but crap) how we as a country have dropped so low that even a supposedly ‘Right-leaning’ (in reality, London Liberal (Lefties)) publication celebrates the fact that a non-White/Muslim is now minister for British Culture.

    What we BADLY need is WHITE WORKING CLASS people in power.

    • Radford_NG

      Support for pigeon fanciers and allotment holders…….[This isn’t a joke.]

      • Radford_NG

        And sub-Post Offices as a public service founded by the Great Victorians.The Post Office was the FIRST national institution,with an office in ever town,district and village in Great Britain And Ireland.So many of these are now closed down as the Commissioner for Trade in Brussels [Peter Mandelson] defined the Post Office as a business.not a public service.

        • Raw England

          The Victorians were very resourceful, and very, very English.

          Yes, Radford: all our national assets are just about sold off to foreigners now. We’ve lost everything. And the real horror of it all is yet to come.

    • spurnlad

      THE VERY PEOPLE YOU TALK ABOUT, THE ONES THAT NEED REPRESENTATION, ARE THE VERY SAME THAT ARE LEAST LIKELY TO VOTE.

      Make voting compulsory, as it is in oz; give the people a week to vote, with a hefty fine for not doing so and you may see some change. If not, the feckless and the very people who need a change in political direction will continue to suffer.

  • Radford_NG

    The first `Cultural` Secretary was Chris Smith.Appointed in 1997 by Blair as Sec. for National Heritage,with-in weeks he changed it’s name to `Culture`.He later said he told Blair he would only take the job if he could make the name change.

    I was surprized,and shocked,that no attention was drawn to this.Previously the term Ministry of Culture was only used by Communist States;and was only used here in a mocking sense,even on the BBC:but nobody took this up.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …the term is used by all socialist authoritarians, fascists and communists alike.

  • Iain Hill

    Doing your usual thing of contrasting the extremes – rented video vs dragged to the opera. Either the arts are not a public good (and should be left to survive on what they can directly earn) or they are, and a knowledgeable minister should be in charge of their funding. Keeping a public good at starvation level helps no one.

    Your comment re ordinary earners subsidising the pleasures of the rich is way out. The most cursory glance at where the money goes will show a vast chasm between the well oiled ROH and the struggling regional theatre companies patronised by ordinary people.

    Facts, not dogma!

  • edithgrove

    Arts funding has been with us at least since Jennie Lee in 1960-something. And, since you mention it, the Spectator’s arts coverage isn’t peerless unless you’re trapped in Tunbridge Wells, circa 1955. Some of us still shudder at the memory of the arts blog the Spectator foisted on us up until a year or so ago.

  • Lady Magdalene

    We don’t need a Minister for Culture.

  • John Lea

    What an awful advert – tokenism in every sense.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    I can`t help noticing my contribution starting “What is it about Rochdale …”
    has hit the cutting room floor, yet again.

  • Liz

    But the public has terrible taste.

    • Fergus Pickering

      And Arts journalists have even more terrible taste.

      • monty61

        Really? Do you go out much?

  • Mike Barnes

    Are you sure we didn’t have a Culture Secretary until 1992? How did Shakespeare get started without a government grant or workshop?

    • Greenslime

      BBC workshop

  • Mrs.JosephineHyde-Hartley

    It does seem very trendy indeed to sport a bare bodkin. He looks the part of culture secretary.

  • Colonel Mustard

    I guess his main challenge will be prising culture and the arts from the dead grey politicising hands of the left’s luvvies who have turned much of it into party political propaganda on behalf of the Labour party.

    Good luck to him, God speed and strengthen his arm.

    • Raw England

      He’s stated himself that he’s very committed to multiculturalism, and that he hates Enoch Powell so much, he got into politics to ensure people like him wouldn’t ever gain power.

      He’s no different to the cold, grey, politicising Left.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Javid on multiculturalism:

        “I welcome the Prime Minister’s speech on this complex and important topic. I am proud of my Pakistani and Muslim heritage but, as I have myself said repeatedly, people who settle here should respect the British way of life, culture and traditions, and be required to learn our language. For too long we have championed an ideology of multiculturalism which has created divides rather than broken them down.”

        Quite different from the cold, grey, politicising Left.

      • justejudexultionis

        You forgot to mention that he puts money before people.

  • MirthaTidville

    What I cant understand is why Fraser is remotely bothered about what the traitorous Grauniad and its otherwise unemployable oiks think?..The only possible use for this rag, is turn it into small squares and use it in the smallest room in the house!!

    • telemachus

      I am pleased to see the Guardian on the up
      Before you use the small squares you would do well to read it
      *
      Today it has gained a Pulitzer Prize

      • Alexsandr

        yes but its circulation is falling off a cliff, like the independant. I doubt either will be around in 2020, if not earlier.

      • Fergus Pickering

        Read it? That is really too much to ask.

      • Kitty MLB

        Telemachus,Indeed the guardian is a most excellent paper. Never bias, excellent
        news and culture sections, full of history. Helpful information regarding arts . Not remotely interested in massaging the truth to make its own political points. Represents the best of journalism and the excellent
        reasonable people who read such a elevated newspaper.
        Not the slightest part surprized it won an award Telemachus not the slightest.

        • Greenslime

          Obviously written by an employee at its broadcasting arm, the BBC. The camber is all to the left.

      • MirthaTidville

        I have a lot in common actually with the Guardian Telemachus old son….we both suffer from poor circulation

      • the viceroy’s gin

        It gained a Pulitzer because Snowden and company used their (falling) circulation numbers to get out their message. After their numbers fall a bit more, they’ll be completely useless for such.

  • ohforheavensake

    ‘As I said in that Telegraph column, Javid has an excuse for not having an expansive ‘cultural hinterland’. He grew up in a household where it was a treat to hire a video for an evening – he wasn’t dragged off to the opera to learn how to mix with the intelligentsia, as the young Ed Miliband would have been…’

    Thing is, Fraser (& I say this as someone born into the poorer part of the working class), I honestly don’t think you’ve got any idea how monumentally patronising you’re being.

    – Oh, and that golden age of the arts? Nope- most arts organisations are running out of road: we did have a golden age a few years ago, but it’s harder now, and the cultural world is suffering. You don’t seem to know this; in fact, from this post, you don’t seem to know that much about culture in general.

    You’d make a good Tory culture secretary.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      You`re still able to contribute to the Catholic Daily Telegraph? Getting banned from that right-wing rag is the ultimate accolade. All you have to do is bad-mouth Israel.

      • Fergus Pickering

        Israel exists to keep the muslims in order. Sounds OK to me. And Iraelis are hardly likely to kll me. I like ’em..

        • Jackthesmilingblack

          Israel, aka the Fourth Reich.

          • Fergus Pickering

            oh come. That’s just your dislike of Jews showing. Israel has no desire to rule the world. And my enemy’s enemy is my friend, don’t you know? The Fourth Reich, if you insist on it, would be the Caliphate.Or do you believe that muslims are unjustly calumniated and are peace-loving peoples?..

    • Fergus Pickering

      The cultural world is suffering? How exactly? There seems to be plenty of culture about. You can hardly turn round without falling over culture. It’s everywhere like a rash.

      • Kitty MLB

        Quite right culture is everywhere. Assuming people
        are interested and can be lured away from the inveiglements that
        reality TV provides. You can even find culture in yoghurt these days….

      • justejudexultionis

        Public art in particular is an offensive waste of taxpayers’ money – Angels of the North, that terrible sculpture in St Pancras with the kissing couple etc.

    • Greenslime

      ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • Samuel Johnson

    That poster at the top is almost as moronic as the ‘beer and bingo’ one. Unless they are actually planning to offer every working-class kid from Rochdale a cabinet position…

  • Guest

    Where does the headline mention race?

  • James Strong

    I call you and/or your headline writer racist.
    Your article offers no support to the assertion that this man will be a great culture secretary.
    Indeed, your final paragraph is just a speculative expression of hope.
    I call you racist because I don’t think you’d have got this headline from this article if the new appointee was white.
    When can we be colour-blind, instead of this absurd metro-liberal angst/guilt ‘Look at me, I can’t be racist because I write positive things about ethnic minorities.’

    • FrankS2

      But where does the headline mention race?

    • Greenslime

      Close to the most idiotic point I have ever seen posted on a blog.

      • tjamesjones

        Yes agree GS and that’s quite a low bar.

    • tjamesjones

      james you forgot your tin hat today! oh no!

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Shutting the Dept down would help towards our emissions targets.

  • swatnan

    All these Tories know is how to cut cut and cut, and beyond that they have no imagination. He’d be good in The B****r’s Opera.

    • HookesLaw

      All thats being cut is a mass of spending that labour unleashed but could not pay for. Labour spent and the deficit widened even when we had growth. That does not make Brown a genius it makes him thick.

      • southerner

        And your beloved Dave and the rest of the Camerluvvies couldn’t win a majority against him and at the height of an economic collapse.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …it makes you socialist Camerluvvies thick that you’re skyrocketing the debt just like your mate Broun.

    • Andy

      What ‘cuts’ ? The State is not running a budget surplus last time I looked. And the State will be spending more in cash terms at the end of this Parliament than at the beginning. Some cuts that.

  • HookesLaw

    ‘lack of a cultiral hinterland’ Typical Guradian snobbery.
    This in a country where the BBC, with what 5 billion to spend (?), gives us wall to wall Eastenders?

    • monty61

      It doesn’t actually. It only seems that way if you watch it. Anyway that’s what the great unwashed seems to want.

      • Rhoda Klapp8

        It is not seemly to sneer at the great unwashed. It is snobbish and the kind of thing we expect from the political class, not you. The BBC has an editorial effect on UK culture. It has a concomitant responsibility. It is hard to see how that is met by endless antiques in your attic shows, property shows, cheap quizzes, endless Blue Peter level reporting of serious subjects and bent editorial choices over what is news and what is left out.

        Yes, Trevor is kind of right for once.

        • Andy

          You forgot to mention its Marxist News output holding, as it does, a virtual monopoly on broadcast news. The BBC should be broken up and its ‘tax’ abolished.

        • Kitty MLB

          The BBC will say that they provide what the masses want to watch. And unfortunately there are those who watch such meaningless and empty rubbish. There is a woman called
          Lucy Worsley who is a historian, she is on TV quite often
          but usually hidden away on BBC 4 ( she is hilarious and well
          informed ) but will not appeal to most BBC watchers.
          But yes the BBC are quite repetitive and boring, but so are some viewers.

          • La Fold

            Lucy Worsely, definitely take her out for a shandy and a prawn cocktail.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            BBC World News seems to to skimped on their basic research. Out here in the Japan Alps programming is wall-to-wall sports which is largely football. And what is football`s image? Over-paid prima-donna players and criminally inclined hooligan supporters. BBC stand accused of exporting UK trash culture.
            Jack, Japan Alps

        • Iain Hill

          Reorganise the BBC into subscription channels and let those go us who wish to pay for the content we want to watch.

          The rest , like Marx’s state, can wither away.

      • Iain Hill

        The Spectator is proud of your discerning view of your fellow citizens.

        • monty61

          Well how else would you describe the audience for such great cultural treasures as Homes under the Hammer?

          • Rillian

            Perhaps with just a little less disdain for your own countrymen.

            That’s 3/4 of the problem with our country right now.

          • Michele Keighley

            It makes them real people with cultural needs far different from yours. That does not make them inferior or make you superior – a mistake too many people, full of their own sense of importance, make.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        So you see this as you luvvies giving the “great unwashed” what they “seem to want”? Do FO, lad.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Javid is a bean counter. The perfect choice (with all the right credentials) to wind down the DCMS and get Government out of the ‘Culcha’ game once and for all!

    • HookesLaw

      Since Cameron is not a ‘toff’ then javid is not a ‘spiv’. Conservatives want opportunity for all and Javid reflects that so stop moaning.

      • James Strong

        What is a ‘toff’ in your world?
        In my world Cameron certainly is a toff.

        • Rhoda Klapp8

          Toff is not one of my usual perjoratives. I don’t think people can help it.

          Never mind, I have plenty of words left for Cameron relating to things he can help.

      • monty61

        Cameron not a toff? If he’s not then who on earth qualifies?

        • Fergus Pickering

          Do you mean by a toff a rich man who went to a public school? Like Ed Miliband? Like Ed balls? Like Nick Clegg? Like Nigel Farage? And I presume a spiv is someone who is now rich but started with bugger all.

          • Iain Hill

            What public school did Miliband attend? Try for the facts!

            • Fergus Pickering

              The local comp. was it?

          • monty61

            Most people know a toff when they see one – titles in the family, old money, and the sense of entitlement that go along with them. Eton’s (relatively few in number) scholarship boys may have the accent but they never quite acquire the whole package.

            • Fergus Pickering

              They sound quite splendid. Churchill, you mean. Just the ticket!

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …Dave is a toff as well as a poshboy.

        Javid is a token being used by the Camerluvvies to demonstrate how right on they are.

        • FrenchNewsonlin

          Bit like Miller and Warsi then!

    • tjamesjones

      Javid is not a bean counter. You can try to patronise what you don’t understand, or what threatens you, but to dismiss him as an overachieving accountant is just plain wrong. He was the youngest ever VP at Chase Manhattan, and made a lot of money in high finance, from private equity to credit trading. If that is by definition something bad for you, that’s absolutely fine, and off you go to the guardian and stop troubling us here.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Why would you think beancounter to be inaccurate or a pejorative? Just because he’s moved on in the bankster ranks doesn’t change what he is, does it?

        And why would you imagine that disdain for the banksters is a lefty exclusivity?

      • justejudexultionis

        It is not clear what these banker parasites, even the ‘successful’ (whatever that means) ones, other than bleed us dry with extortionate bank charges and deny small businesses necessary credit for growth.

  • monty61

    Oh dear. The ‘subsidise the pastimes of the rich’ is a cheap and dirty line. You can complain about the luvvies all you like but Tory mass support (not to mentione quite a few of their MPs) actually comes from tedious, unimaginative business stock with no intellectual or cultural hinterland altogether. The types you meet in the gym all hairy, balding and tryhard. If that’s what makes a great culture secretary then god help us all.

    • Curnonsky

      The British cultural lead, such as it is, derives from music, fashion, entertainment and design, not dreary state-subsidized high culture. If state support was all it took then we’d all be listening to the Red Army Chorus.

      And of course state subsidies aren’t so much underwriting the pastimes of the rich as the livelihoods of the artsy middle class types and administrators, curators and flacks who support them. If large corporations want to sponsor them to create snoozefests instead of the taxpayer, why not?

      • monty61

        The problem then is that ‘art’ (or music, or drama) then shrinks to a safe, self-satisfied bougeous pastime. Yet another ‘brought to you by’ performance of Sleeping Beauty or the Brahms 1 is scarcely better than the Red Army Chorus.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …then you should work to resolve that, lad. Off you go.

    • Rhoda Klapp8

      Snob again.

      • monty61

        See above. Inverse snobbery is far more dishonest anyway.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Ah! Culture is the BBC. Programmes about property. More programmes about property. Quizzes. Reality shows. Ah culture!

    • Kitty MLB

      Monty, old turtle dove. The BBC assume culture is somewhat provided in yoghurt. Endless soap operas, reality TV, history documentaries ( that are
      factually incorrect- just massaged to please the left., Quiz shows..
      frankly the list is endless. Anything of any substance they place elsewhere.
      Its not very often you see a good opera or a play on the BBC. Admittedly
      in countries such as Germany, Austria and Italy they are far more superior
      then the UK, in terms of culture.

      • monty61

        Why does everyone here assume that the BBC is all about BBC1? What about the web sites, the digital channels, the wireless (I confess to being addicted to R3 and R4, indeed I don’t own a TV, put off by said property shows, quiz shows, tedious left wing comedy. But look at The Proms, look at what they do with history, with art, with science programming (just not at 8pm on BBC1). All without horrendous adverts. Imagine a world where we only had Sky. Sends a shudder down the spine.

        • Andy

          What sends a shudder down the spine is allowing one provider, an organisation dominated by the Fascist Left and their evil agenda, to control 70%+ of broadcast news output. We need more diversity and that means the BBC needs to be broken up and this strangle hold over news provision destroyed.

          • Kitty MLB

            Well yes, the BBC is treated like a national institution and it has far too much dominance as we know. Almost sinister
            in a way. But at least with the new chaps financial background
            he might be of some value when reforming the beast and the BBC is quite partial to gobbling up money as we know.

        • Kitty MLB

          Well they need to be weaned off BBC1 clearly.
          I am not one for the main channels to be quite honest,
          just a few things that interest me, it all becomes very repetitive and dull after a while, and I must confess at not being run of the mill . I find opera and plays
          elsewhere. Tend to listen to Classic FM but would like be able to hear some plays occasionally, might try R4.

    • Colonel Mustard

      What tripe. You might as well have made the equally ridiculous assertion that only Labour supporters appreciate the arts. As usual, just because the noisy left hi-jack something doesn’t mean their squatting on it is exclusive. I know plenty of high profile artists who are immersed in and love the highest forms of culture but absolutely detest the left. They would never admit it openly though because the way the noisy left throw their weight around in such circles might jeopardise their careers.

      And to appreciate the arts, as with appreciating the NHS and education, is not defined only by throwing shed loads of cash at it.

      Most of the current shadow cabinet are the very definition of philistine who one could imagine burning books rather than reading them.

    • Greenslime

      Why do you presume to think that anything YOU like is intellectual whilst anything anyone else likes is not. Such arrogance.

      Opera, to me, is just fat people singing in foreign. It is a dreadful noise, spattered with brief moments of listenable stuff. Pinter is absolute tosh. Ballet, whilst spectacularly gymnastic in some moments, brings on narcoleptic attacks. I have tried all of them, several times, to make sure that it was not just the production. But no, it was the whole thing.

      If you want to watch this stuff, lovely. But you pay what it costs and don’t expect me to sub you. If it dies, you might thing that the country is poorer for it but I don’t – and that does not make me an intellect basher. If you want to watch La Traviata, go to Milan. Wagner? Go to Bayreuth. Don’t expect me to subsidise your leisure activities.

      • monty61

        I’m more of a Lieder fan myself. Don’t really go to opera. But I do appreciate the ‘art’ involved. However the whole package – that goes with a broad education and an appreciate of art, literature, architecture, serious music and so on – is the essential product of western civilisation, the one true gift of Europe to the whole world and out of which arose great the Enlightenment values associated with the scientific method, liberalism and modern political thought. It’s not called ‘high culture’ for nothing and I don’t really have patience with the ludicrous standpoint that it’s of a piece with pigeon fancying, grafitti, or snooker on Sky Sport.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …sounds like it’s quite important to you, lad. Suggest you not leave it to the whims of the next Westminster mob, whoever that might be, and get it financed independently of them all. That way it’ll be sure to survive the pigeon grafittists and snookerings.

  • Alexsandr

    Well Fraser. Why didnt you ask what we need that department for, and could it be abolished?

Close
Can't find your Web ID? Click here