Many years ago an arts spokesperson for the SNP launched an extraordinary attack on Scottish Opera, saying, ‘If push comes to shove, if I were arts minister and had to choose between the survival of Gaelic music and Scottish Opera, I would say rich people could always go to Salzburg for lieder and Sydney for opera.’
With various parties now competing for the class-war-and-grievance vote, I sense a return of this kind of rhetoric in debates on Scottish culture, arts and politics. Scottish Opera routinely invite Scotland’s politicians to their productions and their invitations are routinely ignored. The feeling is that there are votes to be lost in being seen supporting elitist culture. The fact that Scottish Opera offers £10 tickets to all under 26, something you don’t find replicated at Celtic or Rangers, counts for nothing.