In a two-fingered gesture to the arts community and public probity, the outgoing Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has appointed his friend and advisor Peter Bazalgette to the chairmanship of Arts Council England.
Bazalgette is a pioneer of trash television, the entrepreneur who brought Big Brother to Britain. He cultivated Hunt assiduously and the crony-prone minister responded in kind. His successor was given no say in the matter.
The appointment, approved by Downing Street, is a clear sign that the Cameron government no longer abides by the Nolan rules of transparency in public appointments. It is bad for politics, bad for Britain, horrendous for the arts. Hunt’s name goes down in ignominy.