Is British Culture Turning Tory?

article-1343971-0CA404BC000005DC-251_634x467The Guardian has published an article that I’ve been awaiting for months: it says that the success of “The King’s Speech” and “Downton Abbey” — and the palling around of the Burtons (director Tim Burton and his squeeze, Helena “Bad Hair” Bonham Carter) with Tory leaders (pictured) — means that the culture class in the U.K. is tilting Tory. This is nonsense: the overwhelming numbers of artists and actors and musicians in Britain remain left-of-center. This isn’t just a matter of supporting the party supporting government funding for the arts, which even in an austerity age is much more pronounced in Britain than here. This is a matter of civil liberties. Artists like Gilbert and George may natter on that the Tories are better for artists because they don’t want everybody to be equal but to express individuality. But when it comes to supporting global culture — the rights of those from around the world who, being oppressed, either end up in the U.K., or who look to that country for moral support — the evidence is overwhelming that Labour is more sympathetic than the Conservatives. The same holds true in the United States: compare how often artists are showcased at the White House now compared to the Bush years: not even close! Has the Obama administration and its formerly in-charge Congress increased funding for the arts? No. But they have certainly created a climate more friendly to the liberties of artists (even as they have been a disappointment on other kinds of liberties).

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