I see that the bedraggled remnants of the political left are scaremongering widely in the media around a possible “closure” of Walsall’s New Art Gallery. Aided by Walsall’s Labour-led council, which used the word “closure” as part of a pitch aimed at justifying and driving through a rise in Council Tax.

One has to dig a bit to find the facts behind the scaremongering. The local subsidy from Walsall’s taxpayers is around £900,000 per year, excellent value for money re: the tourism boost (it’s the only reason one would want to visit Walsall, unless one has a leather-fetish). The Council claims this amount “could” be reduced leading to savings of £100,000 in 2017-18, “and by as much as £390,000 in 2019/20”.

Even if Walsall’s Labour councillors do suddenly go into swivel-eyed Corbyn-mode and cut all subsidy immediately and in one fell swoop, there’s still the £880,000 a year from the Arts Council, and a 4% funding uplift for the English regions that is expected from the Arts Council very soon.

Otherwise the Gallery may be facing hard times ‘chugging along’ on a reduced budget of a piffling £1.6m a year, but would not be facing the prospect of “closure” that the Council is scarily claiming in their press release and which the leftists are howling about.