Letter: Fight for the arts

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Peter Hall's call for a Shadow Arts Council is admirable, timely and undeniable.

It is indeed unfortunate that, at a time when the theatre in particular is threatened with the most hostile government in my lifetime (and that is saying something), and we are therefore most in need of tough, independent arts commentators, Melvyn Bragg has turned himself into an instant-reflex apologist for all the sins of Chris Smith and his paymasters. It is doubly unfortunate that his previously distinguished track record as an arts writer still allows him to command space to parrot whatever is the latest party line on no cash for the arts.

But the rest of us should still stand firm, and the best way of doing that would be to support the Shadow Arts Council in public and private, on the air and in journalism, and every other way we can. It is, in the present crisis, quite simply our only hope; but where precisely can we sign up, and to whom do we send however minimal the cheques we can afford?


London SW10