Is Britain’s New Labour Party Destroying The Arts?

“New Labour has wrecked culture in the sense of encouraging the lowest common denominator. It is total populism. That’s the reason why so many of us [in the arts] hate them – not just for our political differences.” So says playwright Tariq Ali, joining a chorus of cultural figures in the UK decrying the ruling party’s abandonment of high culture. Part of the anti-Labour venom is surely a result of Tony Blair’s unpopular support for the American war in Iraq, but the split runs deeper than a single issue. Where Labour was once thought to be the political ally of the serious art world, it seems increasingly clear to many artists that New Labour isn’t interested in anything but making the masses happy.