Writing in The Guardian newspaper recently, Culture Secretary Maria Miller, the lacklustre minister in charge of the Department for Media, Culture and Sport, said this:
Arts and culture are the lifeblood of this country. We are the nation of Shakespeare, Milton and Elgar. However, listening to some people you might be forgiven for thinking that arts and culture in this country are about to breathe their last; that tumbleweed is blowing down the aisles of our theatres and through our museums; and that the barbarians are at the gates. There are even those who peddle nonsense that the Department for Media, Culture and Sport is set to be abolished.
The Cockburn Rule clearly applies here, so we can expect to see the end of the Department soon (or as Maria Miller would probably put it: 'in the very near future')
Maria Miller is not telling the truth when she says cuts in funding are a manageable 5%. The Science Museum Group consists of the flagship South Kensington establishment, the magnificent National Railway Museum in York, the Museum of Science and Technology in Manchester and the Media Museum in Bradford, which together attract more than five million visitors each year. Funding has been cut by 25% over recent years and one of the Northern museums is likely to close unless funding is maintained. Of these, the NRM in York is the biggest and the best - and I mean the best in the world. You can add your name to an e-petition calling for its retention as a free-to-enter national asset here.
Back to Maria Miller. It's terribly easy to knock her gormless and cliché-rich prose style, which is no reason not to. Attacking what she sees as the negativity of arts organisers who are complaining about cuts in funding she concludes:
It would be laughable if it weren't so dispiriting for all those who work in the arts, and the millions – of which I am one – who regularly enjoy them.
So, is she really one of the millions who regularly enjoys 'all those who work in the arts'? That's what I call a bunga bunga party.
This just in - Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has just cut DMCS budget by 7 per cent.