Labour peer Melvyn Bragg: ‘The Tories have done some terrific things for the arts’
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
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.
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.”
You may also want to watch:
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.
- 1 Arrests made after reports of antisemitic abuse in St John's Wood
- 2 Arsenal Women on cloud nine after big FA Cup win
- 3 Lane closure scrapped after high pollution readings double
- 4 Pubs and restaurants look forward to 'normality' of indoors on May 17
- 5 Tottenham Women seal extra time win over Sheffield United
- 6 Falling stonework narrowly misses outdoor diners at Crouch End cafe
- 7 Hampstead man jailed for pub 'revenge attack' on Jewish Tory barrister
- 8 Owner mourns Highgate station’s beloved black cat
- 9 Obituary: 'Striking and beautiful' north London mother Mary Collins
- 10 Haringey Council leader ousted by rival in Labour group vote
“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.