There should be more art, no career politicians and only grandmothers would be allowed to join the armed forcesby Sandi Toksvig / December 14, 2011 / Leave a comment
The trouble with ruling the world is that as a right-thinking, left-leaning sort of person my first move would be to organise my own overthrow. I’d want banners painted and people mobilised to prevent my dictatorship, no matter how benevolent. While I was waiting for the crowds to gather, however, I can’t claim that the power at my fingertips to do a little good would be entirely resistible. I suspect I’d start slowly. Perhaps dabble first in the arts.
In these depressive times I feel we are more than ready for a replication of the depression-era American Federal Art Project. Started in 1935 as part of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, the scheme spent eight years bringing art into the everyday life of communities across the United States. Hundreds of artists were employed to give exhibitions and classes and to this day some of America’s most significant pieces of public art hail from that time. If we’re going to sit around unemployed we might as well make the place look nice.
I’d turn the walls of hospitals into art galleries. The NHS may fail but at least we could spend our time in the waiting room invigorated by something more interesting than a poster about the Heimlich manoeuvre. While I was on the arts I might have a think about television. There is a curious desire on the part of most broadcasters to focus only on corralling young people into their audience. I don’t know why. My home is littered with youths who on the whole don’t watch television because they’re too busy. I’d start making programmes for the older person who can’t be bothered to go out and possibly even the ones who’ve read a book.
While I was at it I’d require a rethink of the way politics is presented on the box. When a million people marched through London against an illegal war and nothing happened they began to switch off. They knew that their opinion didn’t matter. The greatest enemy of democracy is apathy so we need to reach out through interesting and lively political programming with (and this is a crazy idea) fewer men pontificating and more women discussing.
Indeed we need to rethink politics. No politician would be allowed to represent her or his community until they had had a life. No one should decide how the rest of us might live until they have…