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Ed Vaizey warns film quango to stop briefing against ministers

By Tim Montgomerie

Paul Goodman predicted it would happen and we all suspected it was starting to happen (inside Departments like Education) but good sources have told Ed Vaizey at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport that the Film Council, recently chopped by Jeremy Hunt as an early part of his contribution to Britain living within its means, should stop briefing against the decision.

VAIZEY-TELEGRAPH-TV Mr Vaizey has just sent a letter to the Film Council warning the axed quango not to further abuse its position:

“I am very concerned about what has come to light. It looks as though sources at the Film Council have been overzealously briefing in order to protect their interests. As a result they may be damaging the film industry that they purport to represent. This is completely wrong and I will be seeking urgent reassurances that the Film Council will promote the interests of the film industry rather than its own from now on.”

Although cuts in arts spending are top of most voters' lists of preferred economies they are also the most dangerous. People steeped in communications are very good at communicating why they deserve special treatment. The Film Council's allies have enlisted Clint Eastwood in their save-the-quango campaign and won a big spread in the News of the World as a result (as well as more predictably in the left-leaning arts media).

PS Reforming the BBC would make the Film Council fightback look like child's play.

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