Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, Ed Vaizey MP, has stirred up controversy by suggesting that the arts are 'far too high-brow' and may benefit from 'better engagement with lower classes and the less well-informed'.
Speaking at the launch of new Arts & Business initiative 'The Big Arts Dumb Down', Mr Vaizey spoke of 'engendering greater acceptance across the cultural landscape of our fine isle' but several national newspapers have accused Mr Vaizey of 'using words that are too big', telling him to 'stop showing off, egghead' with one suggesting 'we think he's calling us stupid, but we're not sure'.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport have followed up the speech with the release of a paper by Mr Vaizey suggesting changes to literary and visual arts to make them more accessible. 'Shakespeare is a good case in point,' says Vaizey, 'where football fanatics could easily be lured into more cultured reading by suggesting that Billy Shakespeare was a footie fan too, with 5-asides every few pages. Edvard Munch's famous painting could easily be passed off as the shocked face of a spectator watching Wilkinson miss an easy drop goal.'
'Perhaps,' continues the Minister, 'the Mona Lisa had just let a sneaky one go and was trying not to giggle at da Vinci. It's all perfectly plausible and will make the ill-informed proletariat appreciate art on some level, even if it's not strictly correct.'
Mr Vaizey reports jointly to Vince Cable's Department for Business Innovation & Skills, being dubbed 'Minister of Why-did-I-get-him' and tasked with 'worrying a bit about the budget cut, or something'. Political pundits have suggested that he may well be first for the chop 'what with showing himself up with that art stuff and all'.
In one controversial section of his report, Mr Vaizey says that the 'typical Briton' would probably appreciate art more if the Venus de Milo was likened to 'that disabled bird off of Child of our Time' and that Lady Chatterly's Lover would become more universally accepted if it was re-written in 'modern English' and the 'near-smut' was 'ramped up to masturbatory levels'.
Well-known art critics Simon Schama and Brian Sewell have taken the unusual step of agreeing with each other, both claiming that Vaizey is 'talking bollocks' and that Britain should 'keep the unwashed well away from the paintings', but Rt. Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, has green-lighted the project, with insiders claiming he wants Vaizey 'to be kept busy' so that 'the twat can't break anything important like London 2012'.