Times are hard, as we know, and things need to be cut from the government budget. It isn't just a matter of doing what is already done more efficiently, it's a matter of looking at what is done and asking two questions. 1) should this be done at all? and if yes then 2) should this be being done at the point of a gun?
For that is what taxation comes down to in the end. If you don't pay they will chase you, if they catch you they will jail you and if you run away from there then they will try and shoot you. So, as PJ O'Rourke didn't quite point out, the acid test of whether something should be tax funded comes down to whether people should be shot for declining to fund it.
Which brings us to the Arts Council. Now I am a philistine, yes, but even I can see the value of an organisation which provides indoor work with no heavy lifting for the dimmer members of the upper middle classes. I just don't see that people should be threatened with being shot for refusing to fund it. Therefore it should not be tax funded and that's another half a billion quid off our collective backs.
But what has this to do with a Great Flying Banana, as promised in the title? Read this. Yes, it's from Canada but don't for one moment believe that arts bureaucracies are not the same the world around. One Mr. Saez was funded to the tune of C$130,000 for a Great Flying Banana which would wave in the wind above Texas to tell us something about George Bush. No banana was produced, no reclaim effort was ever made. Further, no real attempt was made to consider whether said banana would say anything about Shrub nor even what it would say if it did.
Not something for which people should be shot for declining to fund. Now I agree, I've not seen anyone proposing the funding of inflatable fruit in the UK. But anyone think there aren't examples of things quite as ludicrous?
Quite, close it down. Fructifying is what money does in the pockets of the populace.