..."Arts industry insiders believe the timing of the report is designed to damage the council and deflect negative reaction to the forthcoming announcement away from the Government."... (The Independent) (Read the rest here.)
Feeling sick already? We ain't seen nothing yet. I'm not saying the status quo was perfect - yes, there's a serious deficit, and yes, there was a world financial crisis. There has to be a way to save money. But it has to be a competent, considered, sensible way and we have yet to see anything that suggests the current administration is capable of this; or that there is an electable alternative that could be any better. The sense of lunatics running the asylum has rarely been stronger; today, after all we've seen taking place in the US, persistent clinging to belief in the free market as the answer to all the world's problems seems staggeringly naive at best and, at worst, plain stupid. In one word: Detroit.
It's the apparently hasty and ill-considered way in which decisions like the abolition of the Film Council and the PLR (public lending rights) distributing agency were forced through that seems most dubious. The report says the following re PLR:
147. We are surprised at the Government's decision to abolish the PLR body and disappointed that DCMS did not discuss the future of the PLR with its Registrar before announcing its abolition. It follows the same disturbingmodus operandi as with the other bodies, including the UK Film Council. We have not found anyone who supports this decision. Any proposal that the Arts Council should take over the PLR was unrealistic and rightly abandoned. However, this has left the PLR in a state of protracted uncertainty, which could have been avoided had the department discussed proposals with the PLR sooner.
148. We do not believe that the British Library is an appropriate body to take on the work of administering the PLR. Far more appropriate is the ALCS, which already distributes royalty payments to authors. We understand that there may be a legal technicality preventing this, in which case we recommend that legislative measures are put in place to allow it to happen as soon as possible.NB "WE HAVE NOT FOUND ANYONE WHO SUPPORTS THIS DECISION"
Meanwhile in academia, ideology-driven policies that bear little relation to reality are taking hold too...have a dekko at this weirdly Stalinist requirement, reported yesterday, that humanities research at university level will be required to study 'the Big Society', something that I hope profoundly might have been misinterpreted or misquoted or at least mis-something. Here are David Lodge's thoughts on the university situation.