Lazy Hunt-Vaizey hands Arts Council England a job saving scheme

Lazy Hunt-Vaizey hands Arts Council England a job saving scheme


norman lebrecht

November 25, 2011

I despair of the Cameron government, I absolutely give up on them as a creative force.

Its cultural policy is in the hands of a pearly pair known as Lazy Hunt-Vaizey Ed Vaizey (left) will work alongside culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, who was appointed earlier this weekwho, eager to spend longer weekends in the country, simply dump unsolved problems work on existing organisations, efficient or otherwise, and tell them to get on with it.

The most dispiriting part of the National Music Plan, announced today, is the decision to make Arts Council England responsible for ‘music education hubs’ around the country. These are meant to ensure that every child between 5 and 18 has access to singing or instrumental lessons.

But why the Arts Council? It’s a funding body with no track record whatsoever in education. It does accountancy, not calculus, and with a vision that ran out before Margaret Thatcher became PM.

However, its Whitehall-trained chief executive Alan Davey is very good at saying Yes Minister. He strikes Lazy Hunt-Vaizey as as safe pair of hands and, since he’s keen to save jobs among his own officials, the fix works nicely for both sides.

Lazy Hunt-Vaizey swans off to the shires and Dozy A Davey can claim a bonus that will take his pay above £200,000 next year.



  • Tony says:

    The problem of our present government’s woeful lack of understanding of the ways and means of music extends beyond ACE. Michael Gove got booed at the Schools Proms, and reading the “National Plan for Music Education” everyone should understand why in 30 seconds. Meanwhile the execs get their interns to write waffly reports, enjoy their six-figure salaries, build up their pension funds, and have nice dinners with people who agree with them (also enjoying six-figure salaries and big pension funds).

    This is a curious government. My understanding was always that leftward facing politicians believe in relatively high levels of taxation, in return for which the populace expects high standards of services in health, education and addressing social needs. Conversely rightward facing politicians believe in lower levels of taxation, freeing taxpayers as individuals to spend more of their own money as they choose. These are both rational responses to how social needs are serviced and funded, and we can bicker amongst ourselves which system serves the nation effectively and how to do the sums.

    With this government the general population pays plenty of taxes, the figure of 61pc sticks in my mind for some reason. 60p per litre duty on petrol & diesel for example, plus 20pc VAT. Yet the populace is being expected to accept to pay ever increasing amounts of tax in return for decreasing and downgrading services, and cutting wages, pensions and jobs. This in disingenous. I don’t think it would be fair to dump these problems (ACE and Music Education) either on disagreements and compromises in the Coalition or on Europe which are the Conservatives’ usual destination for dissatisfaction. This time it is more simple – they don’t know what they are talking about and refuse to listen to those who do, because they have only one objective: that of winding everything down to spending as little as possible. Let us face it: the first and second overall priorities of government spending are those of bowing down before the banks. The political game is simply obfuscation and to gift-wrap how to minimise the population’s awareness of how our wallets, savings and pensions are being robbed to fund the City and its casino bad habits.

    Music is too important to be managed in this way.