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Another culture minister

Pauline McLean | 13:25 UK time, Tuesday, 1 December 2009

So another day, another culture minister. (I'm beginning to lose count but I think it's number 10 if you count the ministerial double act of Sam Galbraith and Rhona Brankin).

Mike Russell, who's been in the job since February takes over as Education Secretary from Fiona Hyslop.

Ms Hyslop has faced repeated calls from opposition parties for her to resign following criticism of her handling of class sizes and the school building programme.

But rather than facing the door, it's merely a short spin on the roundabout to take up the vacant culture and external affairs post - minus the constitutional role which Mr Russell also had.

While Mr Russell's new job is being described as a welcome promotion for one of the few government big-hitters, political commentators are suggesting Ms Hyslop's move is a "demotion", something which hasn't gone down well with cultural organisations.

On top of that, many believe Mr Russell was one of the few culture ministers to actually have practical experience in the cultural sector, and although he couldn't secure any new cash, had at least raised the profile of the portfolio beyond that of Minister for Fun.

Ms Hyslop isn't expected to have an easy start as culture minister, with the final transition of Creative Scotland - the country's new arts body - not yet complete and the role of chief executive of the new body, not yet appointed.

And with local authority cuts looming - and many organisations fearful about their future funding - she's going to have to move fast to provide reassurance.

Could another cultural gathering in the Traverse be imminent?


  • Comment number 1.

    I am surprised there hasn't been a real out cry at the debate in parliament today. Anyone would think that arts and culture in Scotland is worthless! the comments by some on the labour side were shocking. When is this position going to be taken seriously as an important contribution to life in Scotland today? Mike Russell was at least a proactive minister, lets hope Fiona Hyslop doesnt feel that the post is beneath her.

  • Comment number 2.

    I do not personally know Mr Fildes but am 100% behind his comments.
    I just have that sinking feeling, like when you get allocated a new bank manager without warning.
    Yes, education is critical to the future generations of Scotland and I have no issue with a big hitter being placed firmly in that role.
    However once again we in my industry, Film & Television plus all the associated tourism businesses that exist because of it, have once again been well and truly slapped across the face with a wet flannel. The Film & Television industry in Scotland is on its knees. When will anyone wake up and smell the coffee? When it is burning and we are laying face down in the gutter? Broadcasting is not a devolved issue, we in Scotland are not responsible for our own destiny. Mike Russell just might have been the one person to deliver or partially deliver some kind of rescue package for our industry, but now we will never know. Unless of course Ms Hyslop has a secret talent for pulling rabbits out of a hat. Somehow I don't think so.................................Succint article as usual from Pauline McLean. Keep us posted.


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