So the Liberal Democrats have decided to make it harder to maintain a key part of our national heritage, that of our country houses. Whilst I’m sure that it must look attractive from a ‘get-a-few-headlines’ point of view to be seen to be demanding money from the rich, the impact is much harsher. Those who happen to have perhaps inherited a historic house – but usually little cash – will again find that the money which would probably have gone on maintenance would now be expected to thrown in the goverment’s bottomless pit of expenditure.
Another potential consequence of this is that our artistic cultural heritage is reduced further as owners, faced with mounting repair bills and now reduced funds, will again need to sell of yet more art or furniture. This is a depressing spiral downwards as a house is shorn of many of the pieces which make it interesting and are part of what makes Britain such an important destination for scholars and tourists alike. The contents of a house are almost as important as the house itself – one supports other.
So, the main hope is that the Lib Dems are unlikely to gain power and so their attack on heritage will remain just a piece of political grandstanding. Perhaps the main danger is that of a hung Parliament with the Lib Dems making this bad idea a key demand.