Saturday, 12 April 2014
An open letter to Michael Rosen
The sanctimonious, grammar school and Oxford educated son of communist parents and former Children’s Laureate, Michael Rosen, wrote a scathing open letter in The Guardian to the new Culture Secretary Sajid Javid. But being a lefty he appears to believe that moral indignation is a one-way street. Have a read of his letter... and then read my reply:
Dear Mr Rosen,
We've never met, but that's because I ‘work’ and you have spent most of your adult life so far peddling your stories to children. It's very difficult to see from your Wikipedia entry or from any of your public utterances how you are qualified to comment in any meaningful way about the post of Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. You appear to have previously held no roles in government that may have prepared you for a ministry.
My experience within the field of ‘work’ is that this country is ambivalent about those who believe in the sanctity of art and culture and while they grudgingly accept that Shakespeare, Dickens, Turner and the like are worth preserving they generally don’t give a stuff about raffia, mung bean sculpture or the exploration of anything at all via the medium of contemporary dance. The myriad daft foreign shenanigans the artsy-fartsy, namby-pamby, liberal intelligentsia would have us fund are of no interest whatsoever outside your naïve yet self-aggrandising cultural tribe and those who tap you up for patronage.
This is, of course, all about money. You think that everyone has the potential to produce art and that everyone is entitled to have access to all kinds of art, no matter how pricey, or how utterly crap that art is. As an openly left-wing thinker you honestly believe that the cost of such entitlements must be borne by those who produce genuine wealth, whether they like art or not; not least, presumably, because your own capitalist endeavours have been greatly enhanced by the recognition of made-up public positions such as 'Children’s Laureate'.
But while we're on about money, you believe that greed resides only in the wealthy and the greed of borrowers, taking loans they had little chance of repaying, is immaterial. And yet the party that you would support fuelled that greed like no other. The duplicitous Peter Mandelson even said he was intensely relaxed about people getting rich and yet the reckless overspending during the New Labour years is somehow now the fault of the ‘nasty’ coalition government. Lies, all lies, but that's the sort of "culture" we have to put up with from your side of the divide.
All that public spending has to be paid for and while the majority of artists spend much of their lives relying on the state to assist them in various ways – education, health, public transport, housing, welfare, libraries, museums, etc – very few artists are fortunate enough (as you have been) to ever earn enough to pay much in the way of taxes. So in fact as much as you despise the likes of Sajid Javid, I’m afraid he and all the other people who are not fortunate enough to spend their lives dreaming are in fact paying for the unproductive lifestyles of a great many of those who put ‘culture’ before putting food on the table.
So, as an Oxford graduate who enjoys the ear of many who have mostly taken from the public purse, I'm very curious about why you feel you are in a position to criticise a young man who has risen up from a very humble background and has possibly already paid more tax than your acolytes will in a lifetime. Your very use of the word ‘toff’ betrays that you are arguing not from a position of wisdom and logic, but from a partisan platform of class hatred. Is this the subliminal message in the books you write for children? My mother warned me about men like you.