Maria Miller tells the luvvies to take their easels off her lawn

24 April 2013

Something had to give for Culture Secretary Maria Miller. She’s not had an easy time since the Leveson report and the subsequent battle over state regulation of the press. Harangued by all and sundry, she’s looking to make friends. In a speech at the British Museum this morning, Miller took the novel step of talking to the luvvies of the arts world as if they were grown-ups living in the real world. Her subject was budget cuts:

‘For honesty’s sake we must be clear about the grounds on which this argument must be had and the points that will get traction, not in the press, but with my colleagues – and with the country at large.’

Translation: Please stop giving beastly quotes about me to those nasty papers. I’m trying to silence them in other ways, by the way.

‘It is with this at the fore of my mind that I come to you today and ask you to help me reframe the argument: to hammer home the value of culture to our economy.’


Translation: Help me, help you. All very Jerry Maguire.

‘I know this will not be to everyone’s taste – many in the arts simply want money and silence from Government – but in an age of austerity, when times are tough and money is tight, our focus must be on culture’s economic impact.’

Translation: You get two billion pounds a year. Seriously. That is a lot of teachers and nurses. You know, stuff taxpayers actually expect the state to provide.

‘To maintain the argument for continued public funding, we must make our case as a two way street. We must demonstrate the healthy dividends that our investment continues to pay. That’s the argument that I, as Culture Secretary, intend to make in my approach to this spending round – and I need all your help in that endeavour.’

Translation: Pipe down and stop being spoilt, though if you have any good ideas about saving money would you mind terribly if you let me know? But not via the papers please. We don’t like the papers.

I have rarely enjoyed performance art more.

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  • Robert Taggart

    The ‘British’ Museum – the venue for this ‘plea’ – a warehouse for other cultures heritage – at our expense !

    Give the Grekos their marbles back, the ‘Gypos their stone back, the Ities their ruins back…

    To surmise – stop the need for British taxpayers to subsidise everyone else’s culture / heritage – we have enough of our own – and it be world class.

  • archivemonkey

    She said £2bn of taxpayer’s money over the lifetime of the parliament, not per year.

    According to the DCMS Annual Report
    in 2011-12 they spent £2.4m on “Support for the Arts sector” and £380m on “Arts and culture bodies”.
    Just for some context, of the over £600bn UK public spending each YEAR, £159bn goes on benefits, £100bn on the NHS, and £48bn on paying debt interest. The BBC gets £3.6bn annually from the licence fee, of which £3m went to Mr Jeremy Clarkson.

  • fitz fitzgerald

    If leftist Roddy Doyle gets into the NT, all is lost there …

  • WhichTyler

    Where do you get the £2bn figure from?

  • Tron

    They are not Luvvies they are Labour Luvvies, or they belong to the Socialist Never-Worked Party.
    If artists cannot produce something that people want to buy then they should get another job and treat art as a hobby that the rest of us don’t have to fund.
    Why should some poor soul clean toilets all week so the government can take part of their wages and give it to some leftie twats in Hampstead who hate the Tories anyway.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Your last sentence should be emblazoned on every government form and procedures manual in the land.

    • The Sage

      Excellent and well said. The “arts” should be self-financing and not reliant on government money – in bad times as well as good.

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