Breaking: UK Culture Secretary denies Simon Rattle claim

The BBC’s Front Row programme is about to broadcast a Rattle interview in which the conductor allegedly quotes the Culture Secretary as saying that the arts in Britain are better off without massive state support:

 

Oliver Dowden has now responded: Not true. What I said was that arts orgs who have worked hard to increase income from non govt sources should not be penalised for it in this crisis. I understand the seriousness of the situation and am working on it every single day.

 

That might be seen as seriously misleading.

 

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  • Mmmmm, does one believe Simon Rattle or a minister in a government led by that well-known paragon of truth and honesty, Boris Johnson?

    Tough call.

    • Yes, we’re all longing for a return to the unparalleled integrity of the Blair years.

      And of course the BBC couldn’t possibly have its own agenda.

      • Personally, I wouldn’t want to go back to someone as slimy and duplicitous as Blair. The tragedy about the shower we have in charge now, is that they make even Blair and his cronies see honest by comparison.

      • Allen, do you have the mental capacity to understand that being critical of Boris Johnson does not necessarily mean one supports Tony Blair? Please grow up.

    • Or believe a man who has cheated on numerous wives……and now on his – what – THIRD wife?

      Truth is a movable feast.

    • And there, in a nutshell, is the entire problem facing the UK arts sector. But yes, keep believing what you choose to believe.

  • Dowden says “I understand the seriousness of the situation and am working on it every single day. ”

    Can anyone point to one thing other than soundbites and the odd tweet that demonstrates anything concrete from his daily exertions?

    His priorities clearly have been to get sport back up and running behind closed doors but available via television, mainly because there are more votes in that segment of his brief. As to ‘Culture’, well, as another contributor says, who to believe?

    Maybe set up a Commission to look on what the options are, there are after all enough underemployed, not to say unemployed people in the sector at the moment. That should be enough to give the impression that something is being done and by the time it reports Dowden will be long gone to pastures new and the restructured Department of Media and Sport will have a new tireless champion of Artistic Darwenism

  • state support…..Unterstützung…. Rattle… Petrenko…..Boris…Jeremy… let’s call the whole thing off…….

  • ‘What I said was that arts orgs who have worked hard to increase income from non govt sources should not be penalised for it in this crisis.’ (Dowden)

    ‘What was very clear though (…) he believes, well, very strongly that actually the arts is much stronger for not being supported as it is in the rest of Europe and that we are better for it and will therefore be stronger for it.’ (Rattle)

    Implicit in Dowden’s tweet is that he doesn’t support public subsidy for the arts & that what Rattle said in the ‘Front Row’ interview is correct. Indeed, one reason for so many arts organization seeking private money in the UK is because of government cuts in public subsidy. Dowden is a member of a Brexit government which is opposed to public funding for the arts. Just look at its onslaught against the BBC licence fee and the BBC independence. Of course, as a result of the Covid-19 crisis the BBC is enjoying huge public support, so the government may drop its privatisation plans for it.

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