How Orwellian has this government become? The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has written to publicly funded museums to make it clear that he expected their ‘approach to issues of contested heritage to be consistent with the government’s position.’ A threat of the unveiled kind.
It is an oxymoron to have a single view of a contested issue. There is no contest if there is only one opinion and the government seems determined to create a ‘singlespeak’ from its doublespeak.
How can the world move on if there is only one view of history, without contention, interpretation, opinion or argument? How can we hope to learn if there is only one set of opinions presented to the audience? Indeed what is the point of studying history if it has to be consistent with whatever the government of the day says? What happens when government opinion changes, do all the history books have to be rewritten?
The concerning thing about this whole affair for me however, is that the government is not the public. It spends the money of all taxpayers, irrespective of their political leanings. To demand, or at least imply, that money from the public purse should only be spent on government views means, once again, that the minority gets to dictate to the majority. Rather than being museums, they will become instruments of government propaganda.
My old sales manager once told me to ‘never diss the competition, it only makes them sound attractive’ and ironically, attempts by the government to set the narrative over our, at times, sordid and shameful history, is to make alternative interpretation more interesting.
Those who cry free speech whenever our anglocentric lifestyle is threatened should be up in arms. This is a clear attempt to stifle what people think and say.
What next, burning books in the street?