The policy column

David Fleming, Issue 115/10, p17, 01.10.2015
We won’t turn a blind eye to cuts
The risk of the museum sector not speaking out loudly about the extent of the cuts to budgets, and about the impact those cuts are having, is that the public – the very people museums are supposed to serve – will be unaware of the dangers to services that people have maybe come to take for granted.

If that is the case, the public will therefore not voice any support for the maintenance of museum budgets; not because they accede to the cuts, but because no one has pointed them out.

This is the simple reason why the Museums Association’s (MA) cuts survey is important. It is a case of our being transparent about the state of the sector so that the public is informed and can choose whether or not to protest.

This is how democracies work. They ensure that people’s voices are heard – that we
have facts before us, not just political spin.

This is where the media come in. The public has relied for many decades on the media to air the facts, though it has to be said that some of our print media, particularly, is so
opinionated that many people believe that it can no longer be trusted.

Social media is, by its nature, full of opinion and prejudice. But at least it means that it is nearly impossible for issues to be brushed under the carpet.

And avoiding the impact of funding cuts being brushed under the carpet is exactly why the MA’s cuts survey is so important.

David Fleming is the president of the Museums Association and the director of National Museums Liverpool

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