Expounding the Arts

It is clear that there are only two roads forward for Britain's arts and heritage. The one is to continue to depend on public support, always likely to be given grudgingly and with strings attached; always likely to be reduced in an economic crisis, always subject to changes in government; and always likely to carry with it the threat or reality of political interference. It was in the uncertainty or cross-party political support that Sir Roy Shaw foresaw potential disaster for the arts. His belief that it could be averted while till retaining substantial and growing public subsidies from the taxpayer defies all previous experience of the political process.

There is only one way to avoid becoming embroiled in political warfare, and that is to be totally independent of government. It is towards such independence that this report concludes the arts and heritage should look.

Such independence offers a major challenge which some might not survive. Equally, and more importantly, it offers an opportunity; an opportunity to create a partnership with the majority of the public that forty years of subsidies has signally failed to achieve.