One thing that I've not yet seen discussed in the Lib Dem leadership election is the whole issue of culture. I think that's a shame, as I believe it is something on which we could have a fair amount to say. I think that as a party, we quite rightly stress that quality of life is at least as important as material wealth, although I don't know whether we always discuss what that means in practice.
One important area of quality of life is cultural activities. I am fortunate in that I am able to take part in quite a range of activities, such as going to museums and art galleries and to the theatre and concerts. Other people are not so fortunate, because of a lack of facilities, money, transport or education, or some combination of all of these.
I think we as a party need to do some serious thinking about culture and what we could or should do to support it. What role should the state (at a local or a national level) have in supporting cultural activities? How do we avoid cultural funding becoming a 'middle class subsidy'? Should funding for things like the arts just be left to commercial funding or the National Lottery, and if so, how can potentially controversial or unpopular cultural activities be supported - should they just be left to wither and die? How far does artistic freedom of expression extend? Should cultural funding support big institutions such as the Royal Opera House or the BBC or should it be more focused on grassroots activity? What should we do to encourage cultural activity in schools, especially considering the pressures on time and resources which the national curriculum entails? What role does culture have in social justice and tackling inequality?
I'd welcome any views on these subjects and I'll be interested to see whether either of the leadership candidates expresses any opinions on these issues.
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