Using taxpayers' money to subsidise the arts is a modern aberration. Unlike in continental Europe, the development of the arts in the UK was, until recently, overwhelmingly a private matter with only occasional royal patronage and government intervention.
Then, during the Second World War, our government got involved in concerts to boost morale, and Lord Keynes instigated the Arts Council in 1946. Since then, expenditure on the arts has grown, in real terms, seven times faster than all other uses of taxpayers' money.
The people who consume the arts have higher social status, more education and fatter wallets than Mr or Mrs Average. Furthermore, because the supply of top artists, like that of top footballers, is limited, many subsidies simply bid up the wages of the best artists without adding to supply or reducing prices.
Consequently, we can accurately describe the subsidy of the arts as a transfer of money from the poor to the rich.
Demand for the arts increases with wealth and education. Given that we are much richer and supposedly better educated than 60 plus years ago, then the case for the poor paying for this rich person's pastime gets weaker by the year.
So, what has happened? Why have subsidies increased while demand has been rising?
We have created two powerful, well-con