Search

Labour peer Melvyn Bragg: ‘The Tories have done some terrific things for the arts’

10:00 13 June 2014

Labour peer Lord Melvyn Bragg: 'Its very odd that philistine governments do terrific things for the arts'. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Labour peer Lord Melvyn Bragg: 'Its very odd that philistine governments do terrific things for the arts'. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Strange tides were afoot this week as Labour peer Lord Melvyn Bragg praised ‘philistine’ Tory governments for innovation in the arts and shadow culture secretary Harriet Harman conceded Labour’s legacy was wanting.

Shadow culture secretary Harriet Harman admitted Labour's legacy on the arts had fallen short during a talk at the Roundhouse in Camden. Picture: PA/Nick AnsellShadow culture secretary Harriet Harman admitted Labour's legacy on the arts had fallen short during a talk at the Roundhouse in Camden. Picture: PA/Nick Ansell

During a rousing defence of the arts as a social leveller, the deputy leader of the Labour Party admitted her former government had not done enough to open up the sector to all.

“We did not embed and entrench the sense that every young person has a right to the arts and this is a universal entitlement, irrespective of a child’s family background or where they live,” she said, talking at the Paul Hamlyn Roundhouse studios in Chalk Farm on Monday.

“We didn’t very publicly make, and win, the case for public subsidy for the arts underpinning this.

“We should have done more to banish the notion that the arts is seen by the public as mostly for the privileged few.”

"Margaret Thatcher’s government put Channel 4 in place. John Major created the Lottery for the arts, which has had a massive effect on culture."

Lord Melvyn Bragg

She said governments must do more to convince the public of the benefits of arts subsidy, as she launched a major consultation on Young People and the Arts which will shape Labour policy.

Also in reflective mood was veteran Hampstead broadcaster Lord Bragg who, when asked by the Radio Times magazine whether the coalition was a particularly philistine government, replied: “Looking back on the last 25 to 30 years, it’s par for the course. It’s very odd that philistine governments do terrific things.

“For instance, Margaret Thatcher’s government put Channel 4 in place.

‘‘John Major created the Lottery for the arts, which has had a massive effect on culture.”

But the peer, who was born into a working class family in Cumbria and joined the BBC as a graduate trainee in 1961, said the arts industry was now being dominated by public school alumni like Dominic West, Damian Lewis, Benedict Cumberbatch and Mumford And Sons.

“It’s because there’s respectability in these professions now, and money,” he said.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Saturday, February 25, 2017

A teenager has been jailed for rape and attempted murder after stabbing a 15-year-old girl and forcing her to have sex with him in Hampstead Cemetery.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Murdered children’s author Helen Bailey lived for 20 years in Highgate before moving to Hertfordshire to be with the lover who turned out to be killer.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Police have released CCTV footage after a woman was sexually assaulted outside Golders Green station.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Police are appealing for information after four men were admitted to hospital after being slashed in an “unprovoked” knife attack after a night out in Muswell Hill.

Friday, February 24, 2017

A state school is making waves in sailing after being accepted to enter the Rolex Fastnet Offshore race in August.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Euston station has been closed because of overcrowding and disruption caused by Storm Doris.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Children dressed as Voldemort and characters from 1984 are planning to descend on East Finchley Library to stage a World Book Day protest against Barnet Council’s “ridiculous” and “dangerously unsafe” libraries policy.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Council tax in Camden is set to rise by an extra 1 per cent – on top of the previously planned 3.99pc increase.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now