The Curmudgeon


Monday, April 09, 2012

When You Have Eliminated the Impossible

The artistic director of the National Theatre, Nicholas Hytner, has come up with a rather charitable explanation as to why Daveybloke's Cuddly Coalition, which believes that what remains of the public sector ought to be run by charities and God-botherers, has imposed a cap on tax relief for charitable giving. The budget document includes a throwaway line about working with rich people (though not, you will observe, with the grubby little charities themselves) to "ensure that this measure will not impact significantly on charities that depend on large donations"; but Hytner is doubtless aware that the Government's idea of a significant impact may be slightly different from that of the people impacted. He said that forty million pounds' worth of money already committed to the National Theatre was under threat, and that in future it would probably be more productive to go cap in hand to the Americans.

Hytner has noted the eloquence of the Secretary for Cultchah, Murdoch and England Rah Rah, Jeremy C Hunt, on the benefits of charity, and has apparently concluded that, despite Hunt's handicaps as a minister from the Not Awfully Gifted Party in a boorishly right-wing administration that includes Nick Clegg, he really meant it. According to this rather outlandish hypothesis, Hunt has been "blindsided" into agreeing to "something that makes no sense according to [the Government's] own policies". Given the average level of intelligence and culture in the Cabinet, I suppose anything is possible, even that a News International drone like Hunt should have the slightest interest in what happens to the National Theatre; but I do wonder how exactly the blindsiding was accomplished. Was Jeremy C Hunt too busy reciting sonnets to keep up with what happened in the meetings? Or are we to assume that the robust charm of George Osborne and the honest passion of Danny Alexander, not to mention their occasionally applauded ability with sums and things, simply swept poor Jeremy away?


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