Saturday, 17 January 2009

Youth culture killed my dog*

Doing a little bit of research, trying to suss out why a couple of Tories are asking Andy B on Monday "what plans he has for the future of the heritage listing system". (Yes, I know, a sad way to spend a Saturday night... but I have been very sociable today and now feel like doing a bit of work).

My research threw up a reminder of something I'd completely forgotten - that it was only after the 1992 General Election, that the Department for National Heritage was established. Previously the work was split between several departments, e.g. education, Home Sec. It only became the Department for Culture, Media and Sports in 1997 after Labour won the election. Not sure whether there used to be an equivalent department in pre-Thatcher times.

Calling it the 'Department for National Heritage' - how John Major-ish is that name?! - says a lot about the Conservatives' attitude towards the arts. Reminds me of a meeting I had a couple of years ago with members of the Russian Duma's equivalent of our CMS Select Committee. They'd been talking at some length about Chekhov, Pushkin, Tchaikovsky, the Bolshoi, the Kirov, etc, when I threw a bit of a curveball and asked them what about modern arts and culture in the new Russia, and were they doing anything to encourage new artists, new musicians, new filmmakers? I seem to remember them being distinctly unimpressed. Almost baffled.

* Yes, back on the song titles.

No comments: