Michael Gove, Education Secretary, is determined to raise academic standards and few would argue against that. However, schools are under pressure to become autonomous, to set their own curriculums and budgets and to move away from local authority control and there is an argument that this policy together with a greater focus on narrow performance measures and less money is undermining the arts in education.
We are suffering from a lack of leadership, something the Victorians had in spades. By failing to give significantly, the new rich are failing to set an example and inspire those who will follow them. Government makes noises about encouraging more philanthropy but most politicians follow focus groups rather offer leadership...
The corporate sector must play a lead role in helping to change priorities, to save our planet and create more hope. But this can only be accomplished if individuals within the corporate sector, and for that matter the government sector, are willing to change their attitudes, not be overly greedy and consider what might be best for those most impacted, those living in poverty and asking "them", and civil society, what they want.
This week, Tate's original building re-opens after a £45million face-lift. Tate Britain is glamorous once more, a temple of cool and contemplation. Tate was a gift to the public from Henry Tate, a sugar baron. He donated his great collection of British art to the nation as well as £110,000 to pay for a new gallery on condition that the state would look after it.
Nowhere is this more necessary than the hedge fund sector, which has in the past often been happy for most people to remain in the dark about what it does and why. Its most successful participants have, with a few exceptions, been reluctant to talk about their business, and cautious about engaging directly in a wider social agenda.
I intended to write a book to promote giving but the donors I spoke to are so engaged with tackling problems and determined to change life for the better, that they have given us a template for living as well as giving. These are people who are not daunted by difficulty and who demonstrate that it is possible to make a difference.
With global economic uncertainty still with us, and sovereign states struggling and cutting back on their spending, expectations of philanthropists, charities and aid agencies are immense. We are trying to practise cost cutting and to find new ways of helping because we are frustrated with the old ways.