After Labour confirmed that they would not reverse Tory art cuts, the luvvies turned on Ed. During a spending plans onslaught from the Tories earlier in the year, the party spin machine proudly boasted:
p.44 of Tory dossier says Labour will cancel cuts to the arts budget. We won’t.
— Labour Press Team (@labourpress) January 5, 2015
Leading to a thorough pasting from all sorts of media darlings:
This is not something to brag about. RT @labourpress: p.44 of Tory dossier says Labour will cancel cuts to the arts budget. We won’t.
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) January 6, 2015
@labourpress And you’re proud of that? Jesus.
— Simon Blackwell (@simonblackwell) January 6, 2015
.@labourpress why are you proud of this? Artists are the ones who try to keep public profiles on the values u represented, once upon a time.
— Sabrina Mahfouz (@SabrinaMahfouz) January 5, 2015
Shadow arts minister Chris Bryant added further misery to Labour’s cultural woes after being resoundingly slapped down by James Blunt. Now Miliband is trying to patch up the damage. In a speech at the Battersea Arts Centre tonight, the Labour leader will claim:
‘I come here with an offer: to put policy for arts and culture and creativity at the heart of the next Labour government’s mission. Arts is an area where Britain still leads the world.’
Picking up Bryant’s theme that the arts world is too elitist, Miliband has softened the language, but picks up the torch:
‘I am committed to opening up access to the arts and culture because it can’t be right that all of these advantages are the privilege of a few, rather than the right of the many.
That is why the next Labour government’s mission is to guarantee every young person, from whatever background, access to the arts and culture: a universal entitlement to a creative education for every child.’
It is not immediately clear how Miliband is planning to pay for this expensive sounding promise without reversing the arts cut his spin team so proudly claim they will continue to slash. There is only vague talk of ‘guaranteeing that our national galleries and museums will continue to have free admission’ and ‘encouraging after-school clubs’. Has he cleared this with the teaching unions, who will inevitably want to be paid overtime?