Defending the arts

The novelist and stand-up AL Kennedy wrote this terrific defence of arts spending in yesterday’s Guardian. What’s important about her argument, and about Philip Pullman’s magnificent speech about libraries last week, is that they are defending the arts on their own ground and for their own sake, rather than accepting the terms of the opposing argument, namely that they’re not financially self-sufficient. If those of us who care about reading and writing and paintings and plays can’t defend them on their merits we have failed: this is not about defending their value in the market, it’s about defending their value in our lives. As Kennedy says, “The arts communicate the humanity of others to us and our own humanity to them”.

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