« Could Scottish Conservatives give the SNP their independence referendum? | Main | Anyone for progressive conservatism? »


I can't get heated over this as I believe it is an issue mainly for our Capital which has the bulk of these free museums and galleries for the locals to enjoy for free.

Entry maybe free to the national galleries but for example if I want to take my three children it costs me over £150 in transport/parking and time just to get there.

Of the few free galleries and museums dotted around the NW there is always a sense of need for contributions to be made on entry in line with what you would have expected to pay on admission anyway.

I can't see the average person outside of London being bothered by this.

So no one outside London goes to museums. What total nonsense. This idea should be put where it belongs. In the bin!

If they reintroduce charges - the Science Museum is very expensive - let them raise all their money from User Fees and Council Tax Payers but none from the taxpayer.

I seem to think this has been tried before and it proved to be a public relations disaster then! Bin it...!!!

Tom tom is spot on. Its time this notion of Museum entry, Bus travel for pensioners, the NHS etc etc. is free.
Nothing is free, in all cases the tax payer (local and national) pays whether they like it or not. The free bus travel for pensioners, who are paying for this "privilage" through increased council taxes even those who don,t use the buses.
Free museum and gallery entry, well why not free entry to Old Trafford, Anfield, St James Park etc. and while we are about it why not free entry to heavy rock concerts, swingers clubs, night clubs etc. after all these could all be classed as cultural.
My belief is if you want something you pay for it and that tax funded subsidies are nothing more than legalised theft.

The point about this story is that a "leak" has been picked up by Labour to smear the Tories. In a situation like this the Tories should instantly come back heavy pointing out there is just discussion, who's in charge of the discussion and how Labour have not kept their promises. This has not really hapened and is typical of how, since Thatcher and Tebbitt, the Tory party has allowed itself to be painted in colours which suit Labour.

Any story by Simon Walters deserves to be ignored. He gives tabloid journalism a bad name.

I do not like having to say this but, the ideas that are being introduced, at the moment, as possible policies by David Cameron and his advisors, seem guaranteed to be able to produce 'shooting-in-the-foot' headlines! When I first read this headline this morning 'Tory bid to make free museums history', and then read the article, the first two paragraphs contained NO suggestion of an option, and even the third paragraph said 'The Tories wish to give the institutions greater freedom from Government control.' The first reaction to that sentence AND the original headline, is that it is a contradiction in terms, the rest of the article is equally unclear, so that one is left with the impression that at best this is not a very important issue (in the wider scheme of things), and at worst it is an example of the 'Tories' targetting the less well off - again.

It seems that the need for ideas from ORDINARY grass roots conservative voters are desperately needed!

I forgot to add that this article is in the Sunday Telegraph, not the Murdoch Sunday Times!

The majority of museums in this country are small and either local or based on a single subject. The audience for these museums is small and do not provide a viable financial base. The museum is necessary to remind us of our history which would otherwise be forgotten. End subsidy and you hurt your museums which means that you hurt your community as they help provide the community's history.

But there is actually a good point from this, and that is as with all ill conceived Labour gimmicks which offer groups of people a "free" benefit, they are never ever properly funded to take into account the additional useage that occurs, bus travel for the over 65s being a prime example with money having to be diverted, from other important areas, by local authorities and the like to foot the shortfall.

Once again as with most things that seem to come out of these high flying intelectual policy groups. NO COMMON SENSE.

Another half story. What he means is he will introduce charges for the English, because he can't do it in Wales and Scotland.

We've got people going blind and literally dying due to the anti-English racist discrimination pouring out of Westminster and all he can think of is yet another stealth tax on the English?

Something tells me Cameron will be as bad as, if not worse, than the current Tartan Mafia.

What do we think is the profile of people who visit museuems etc now they are free but did not visit them when there was an admission charge? The great unwashwed? I think not. The self-styled cultural etiles? I think not. Go take a look at the galleries for yourselves. They are now full of young families; aspirational types who want better futures for their children. People who liked Gordon Brown when they thought he was prudent, etc etc. Now, sorry, remind me... what is the profile of the people we have to convince to vote for us in order to win the election? Hugo Swire: nul points.

I agree that the main issue here is the danger of parts of complex reviews being leaked and spun badly - like with the grammar schools issue, which was not just about grammar schools, but the rest was lost in the mess.
A much tighter control of these reviews needs to be taken, with a real affirmation of the difference between reports being presented TO the Conservatives for consideration, and later policies COMING FROM the Conservatives for the Manifesto.

Another leaked "lets lose the election" dumb idea.


If he is then fire him.

Why oh why are we supplying the bullets to our opponents?

Oliver Letwin hasn't vetted this idea yet, HF because the Tusa committee has not even reported to him. This is basically a leak.

Great idea! OK, it went down like a lead balloon last time we tried it but, hey! everyone's moved on since then.

With any luck we can sell it as a new policy.

Anyone for the poll tax?

Dear CCHQ Spy

Please please ask Dave to get a handle on all this policy work and CLAMP DOWN.

The Lib Dems are already talking of using it to fill their Focus newsletters.


And why did Swire think it right to confirm the idea?

So isn't the real story that these oddball 'policy commissions' are now a rolling disaster area?

Leaks, secret briefings, and semi-official announcements that Cameron and co don't agree with were obvious disasters waiting to happen.

Added to which, some members of these outfits are non-Conservatives with no loyalty to the party whatsoever. Some are out-and-out supporters of the government.

The situation is likely to get a good deal worse. All the press want is a few controversial soundbites and by golly, they are going to keep getting them.

I'm surprised by this proposal. Its one of the things I should have thought that the National Lottery should fund. It is one of Labour's better ideas and it just stinks of malice to remove it. At least allow children to continue to enter for free. Museums represent practical education. I was looking forward to regular trips with my children - now that may not happen.

And to John F & A Tracy - There are cheap forms of transport to London - I often travel for only a £1 from Manchester. And football is hardly an education (and I'm a season ticket holder at Spurs).

There has already been a U-Turn on this, and the idea of charging has been dropped.

A Conservative one day policy. What's next?

Traditional Tory (18.15). Are people still allowed to say 'by g*lly'?. I think you will find the PC police are after you.

This is a bad idea and I agree with Iain Dale on this. I knew as soon as I read it that it was just an idea being looked at by the policy group but I also agree with him that we need to think hard about the policy process. It is inevitable that people are likely to see what the policy groups are saying as probable Party policy. There should be a better way to differentiate ideas from real policy before we walk into yet more traps,


I've never read so many comments based on a false premise. It would have been helpful if Con Home had got its facts straight.

The Arts Policy Review Group has AT NO POINT discussed museum charges. The blame for this story starts and finishes at the door of Hugo Swire who offered a series of ill-considered saloon bar opinions at a lunch with arts journalists last week. Nothing whatsoever to do with the policy review process.

Just another shadow minister with limited political judgement and a big mouth.

Mike Smith, AKA 'Traditional Tory', offers us this little gem of disingenuity and hypocrisy:

"Added to which, some members of these outfits are non-Conservatives with no loyalty to the party whatsoever."

Would this be the same Mike Smith who was kicked out the Conservative Party for his extreme right wing antics and subsequently stood as a UKIP candidate?!!

I often travel for only a £1 from Manchester.

That's fantastic how?

We seem to get the worst of both worlds! British taxpayers subsidise tourists visiting free museums and galleries throughout the UK yet they are also expected to pay to visit museums and galleries in other countries!

How is that equitable!?!


ConHome bemoans the lack of sound right-wing meat in Cameron's agenda.

Someone on a task force muses about the state not subsidising museums any more, and ConHome throws it's hands up in horror at the madness of such a hairbrained scheme!

The comments to this entry are closed.


ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker