5 JUNE 1964, Page 13

THE HALFPENNY CULTURE SIR,—Mr. Ronald Duncan's article on the Conserva-

tive Party's attitude towards the arts has exposed a most vulnerable flank in its philosophy. The whole purpose of its progressive policies in education will be lost unless there is a convincing follow-up in the field of the arts. Its pennyfarthing approach is wholly inadequate and a matter of concern to many; all the credit for interest in the arts is at the moment taken by the Socialist Party, who have rather subtly recognised that as the results of Con- servative education policies take effect there will be a growing demand for the arts.

It is not the ordinary rank and file of the Social- ist Party who have pressed these ideas but a strong group of intellectuals whose convictions happen to be Socialist—these views have made the Socialist Party realise the tremendous potential to be gained from adopting them, thus setting themselves up as a patron of the arts; this appeals to many an un- committed voter, particularly the young, as well as those who fancy they are interested in the arts and who feel it is fashionable to follow a party which on the surface appears to foster them.

It really is high time that the Conservative Party came to grips with this vital subject. There surely must be a far greater number of those in the Con- servative Party who have a deep interest in the arts, but what is needed is for them to come forward and guide a robust policy in this field. A Conserva- tive charter for the arts is badly overdue, since it is preposterous that the Socialist Party should arrogate to itself the monopoly in this field. If it is not tackled now and with conviction, the Con- servative Party will be in danger of letting the Socialist Party cash in on educational spade work which is not theirs, and a failure to do so may well, as Mr. Duncan warningly states, be lethal.

LINCOLN IIALLINAN Chairman, Cardiff College of Art 32 Park Place, Cardiff