Scrap the Ministry of Fun?

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I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and this story (via this bloke) has got me thinking again: if the Lib Dems would abolish the DTI, then why not abolish the Department of Media, Culture and Sport at the same time?

I’m not suggesting, as Tim seems to imply (not that I’m putting words into his mouth), that we should abolish all arts subsidies, but it does make me wonder what the DCMS is actually for. Gambling, licensing laws and smoking could easily be passed onto the ODPM. The Olympic bid would suggest there is some sense in having a government interest in sporting matters, but it could easily be part of another department. Indeed, given the importance of its impartiality, I would have thought that not having a whole department with responsibility over the BBC would actually be a desirable thing. And not having a whole department with this responsibility would decrease the possibility of taxpayer’s money being wasted on something like Icons (why not just ask the BBC to do this if you’re that bothered FFS!?).

Before the Kennedy Assassination, Chris Huhne was asked to find £15bn in spending cut commitments. I think he could do worse than to look here, but I’d be really interested to know what other people think.

7 thoughts on “Scrap the Ministry of Fun?

  1. There is a good debate to be had there. Clearly there needs to be a department with some kind of interest in local communities, but certainly under a Lib Dem government greater devolution would render it less important.

    I only mentioned the ODPM because I was arguing for a change from the status quo. But my inclination would be to look at scrapping both.

  2. I agree its an obvious target. If you look at what it does everything could be mergered or devolved. I would definately add it to the list with the DTI. More difficult is DifD. I think you can argue that foriegn aid has really benefited from having its own department and focus. (thanks largely to clare short if I’m allowed to say that). however it used to be part of the foriegn office….

  3. It’s crossed my mind before, although I suppose there’s also a case for saying it’s central to “quality of life”. Most people use the BBC farmore than they use the NHS…

    But there’s a good case for looking at everything government does, what else can be devolved, and what government should takes its nose out of altogether. National sports sides developed over the years without being directed by government, as far as I can tell (not being a sporty person).

  4. The DCMS’s role in the BBC, for example, only comes every few years when the Charter is renegotiated however.

    I’m not saying government doesn’t have a role in these areas, just that I don’t see why it has departmental status.

  5. The amount of theArts grant which is spent on opera is astonishing. While there is an argument of sorts for supporting new & groundbraking artistic media (subsidised computer games anybody) i do not see the point in paying for people to see stuff written a couple of centuries ago(of course one could say the same for Shakespeare except thatpeople are willing to pay for him themselves).

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