The British cultural establishment is stultifying and ossifying. It absorbs large amounts of public money (paid by poor and rich alike from around the country) to produce often incomprehensible works performed for a minority of better-off people, predominantly around London. There is no justification for taxing the majority to subsidise the pretensions of the wealthy chattering classes of London.

Culture is more alive in America, where it is more dependent on private support, and where that support (in the form of sponsorship and bequests) is consequently much more generous. It is also more dependent on ticket sales, which are priced more highly and yet sell out more easily. The economic realities force American artists to pay greater attention to providing what their benefactors and audiences want.

The British cultural establishment may feel that this would force them into a populist straight-jacket, but no one is forcing them to perform anything. They could continue to indulge themselves however they like, so long as they don't expect taxes to reward them generously for their self-indulgence.

Cultural subsidy should be slashed to support for only a couple of orchestras, a ballet and opera company, and a national theatre troupe. Everything else should survive according to the audiences it attracts. And artists receiving subsidy from taxpayers around the country should spend most of their time on tour, sharing the experience with taxpayers in all regions.