This morning, an article in the Scotsman ledes with: "Culture Secretary Pledges to Safeguard Arts Spending in Independent Scotland".
Erm. Not really. In the fifth par of a second story on the same speech that culture secretary Fiona Hyslop gave yesterday at the Museum Association conference (the story is blandly headlined: "Museums and Galleries to Receive GBP50m in Funding") it is revealed that:
The NMS funding is down around 2 per cent on the total it received in the current financial year. The National Galleries of Scotland 2013-14 pot is down 3.9 per cent from the £15.04m received for 2012-13.
This is not good news. Nor does it convince that budgets for Scottish museums are in "rude health" as the culture secretary suggests. See my post on cuts on Scottish museum acquisition funding a couple of weeks ago or the cuts to a third of the funding for Historic Scotland (see Bread and Circuses passim). Today's Herald article on Scotland's "crisis hit arts funding body" is also worth a read.
But there is light relief. In the Q&A session after her speech Hyslop was asked what impact a "yes" vote for independence would have on museums in Scotland:
I am sure that Neil MacGregor, Nicholas Serota and Nicholas Penny will be chuckling into their cornflakes at the suggestion that they are too insular.
Hyslop said that cross-border work already happening in museums across the country would continue post 2014, but there would be more work on an international basis and with Europe. The UK government, she added, was too inward-looking and anti-Europe.