With all her talk of British culture as a “commodity” and a “compelling product”, Maria Miller might have expected to raise hackles in the arts world.
Even more so given that the Culture Secretary’s call for more focus on economics than on creativity came in her first major speech since taking on the job six months ago.
Sure enough, Ms Miller’s claims to be “fighting the corner” of the arts were met with scepticism, her stress on Brand Britain with weary distrust. In fact, there is much truth in what she says. Our arts are, indeed, a vibrant export to be actively nurtured. Equally, there is more that many organisations can do to boost their own finances. Most important of all, the sector as a whole will fare better in the looming Spending Review if it makes its case in the language of the Government’s concerns. To acknowledge as much need not be a bloodless denial of artistic endeavour.