If we must have "core subjects", then the arts should be among them. The situation described by John Hanson is appalling, and his attitude myopic.
Aesthetic arguments such as the arts being the means by which intellect is applied to feeling and imagination in order to create unique structures which others can understand through the application of their intellect, imagination, and feeling are probably too imprecise for a certain type of "scientific" mind. I shall, therefore, concentrate upon practical considerations.
Although it is encouraging to hear industrialists say that they value the arts because they foster imagination and creativity, not nearly enough emphasis is put upon the fact that the arts are in themselves an important industry. It is not just the artists, actors, and musicians; behind them, as supporters and employers, is an army of administrators, managers, advertisers, engineers, copyright and royalty collection agencies, instrument manufacturers, recording and broadcasting companies, publishers, unions, and professional associations. If there are fewer artists, actors, and musicians, there will be fewer employers and supporters, and the jobless figures will soar.
Furthermore, as less philistine andor more commercially far-sighted countries rush to fill the vacuum, we will be saturated by foreign TV programmes, audio and video cassettes, and other artistic products, all of which might even cause a balance of payments crisis.
This may sound wildly exaggerated. But I know of an extremely talented instrumentalist who was almost unable to take music as a GCSE option as a result of the arts having to "take their place with the other subjects". If this is indicative of the national situation, then I really do fear for the future.
Certainly, it is no more far-fetched, and less distasteful, than comparing an organisation which is concerned with the arts in a civilised society with the Mafia. And if we must use the description "vested interests", we should be clear about exactly what those interests are.
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