A mob of self-righteous lefty luvvies has descended on the British Museum to try to bully its new director into giving up on the £600,000 sponsorship money it receives annually from British Petroleum (BP).
The new director’s name is Hartwig Fischer, formerly director of the Dresden State Art Collections. Barely have the poor man’s German buttocks had time to warm his leather chair in his new office, than what should turn up on his desk? Why only a petulant screed from 100 of the very worst people on earth, blathering on about a subject which has nothing whatsoever to do with his role as custodian of the world’s foremost museum collection.
Here’s the letter:
We congratulate Dr Hartwig Fischer on his new role as director of the British Museum, and would like to take this early opportunity to raise an ethical issue of great concern to us all. As the impacts of climate change are being felt more forcefully around the world, it is vital that prominent public institutions like the British Museum play their part in minimising the environmental impacts of their activities.
BP’s sponsorship contract with the museum is coming to an end this year. While governments in Paris committed to transition away from fossil fuels, BP remains a barrier to progress. It is working to extract new sources of carbon-intensive oil from the tar sands, the Arctic and under the oceans, when we need to keep at least two thirds of known fossil fuels in the ground. BP’s business plan is incompatible with a stable climate, and the company is using its influence to lobby against effective climate policies.
Meanwhile, its operations are affecting lives and livelihoods across the world. The company was recently hit with the biggest criminal fine in US history for its gross negligence in causing the Deepwater Horizon spill.
To receive sponsorship from BP is to condone these business practices. Retaining such an unethical sponsor would seriously damage the British Museum’s reputation, and place it firmly on the wrong side of history. Indeed, Tate and BP have just parted company after 26 years, following intensifying protests and criticism. We urge Dr Fischer to follow Tate’s lead in not renewing this contract, and to seek funding from sources more in line with the museum’s values and what is needed to ensure a stable future.
The signatories are a veritable Who’s Who of the most nauseatingly self-righteous, limp-wristed, tofu-eating, stupifyingly ill-informed, over-indulged, up-their-own-bottoms, preening, lunatically left-wing luvvies on the planet. So much so that they should just have signed it “The Wankerati” and we could have filled in the rest ourselves.
They include: actress Emma (“I named my daughter Gaia”) Thompson; Mark (“poor man’s Leo DiCaprio”) Ruffalo; lefty monkey botherer Jane Goodall; scarily overrated mummer Mark Rylance; the one comedian in the world who makes Marcus Brigstocke look funny Robin Ince; anti-fracking fashion harpie Vivienne Westwood; Green MP and self-admitted Watermelon, Caroline Lucas; plus the inevitable rag-bag mob of professional green activists Naomi Klein, Naomi Oreskes, a bloke from Greenpeace, a bloke from another green NGO, etc.
Since 2000, BP has given just under £600,000 a year to the British Museum, sponsoring numerous popular exhibitions including the recent ones on Vikings and the Ming era in China.
The anti-BP campaigners would like us to think that this money is dispensable, given that it constitutes less than one per cent of the British Museum’s total annual income.
But Tiffany Jenkins, author of Keeping Their Marbles and long a scourge of political correctness in museums, says that this misses the point completely.
“It’s horrendously short-sighted but entirely typical of this childish view some people have that the only good money is money that comes from the state and that money from big business is somehow tainted.”
Firstly, sponsorship attracts more sponsorship – so BP’s contribution will have had a multiplier effect, encouraging other companies to donate to the British Museum.
Secondly, government hand-outs are not a given. Increasingly, the Cameron regime has been singing the praises of “philanthropy” as the best funding model for museums and galleries: in other words, ‘money is tight. Don’t expect the gravy train to run forever.’
Thirdly, museums need cash – for maintenance, for research, for new acquisitions – and to turn it down on the say-so of a bunch of activists is a complete betrayal of their public service remit to preserve, display and enhance their collections.
Really it’s a measure of just how out-of-touch with reality the Wankerati are that they cannot see this. What makes them so especially dangerous is that they can sound so plausible. You look at Emma Thompson, for example, and you think “Well, she went to Cambridge and she talks proper and she was awfully good in that series a few years back with Kenneth Branagh and she spends all her time hanging out with arty people, so she must know what she is talking about.”
But she really doesn’t. None of them do. Actors spend their entire careers exposed to nothing but left-wing opinion, mouthing lines written for them by left-wing authors in plays and movies by left-wing directors. It simply never occurs to them to question the liberal consensus. Those few who do tend to get punished with ostracism and no work.