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Extended culture

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Culture secretary Tessa Jowell is spreading her wings these days, and suggesting that the department is trying to punch way above its political weight. First she interferes with the statutory planning system by laying down the law on the development of unasked-for casinos all over the country, to the intense annoyance of John Prescott who (still) happens to be in charge of planning. Not content with promoting Las Vegas values in a European culture, Jowell then throws her weight behind 24hour licensing, not previously regarded as a cultural matter and hitherto something for the Home Office (David Blunkett hated the idea). Obviously drinking culture has taken on a new significance.

The secretary of state could, of course, throw her weight behind a campaign for longer opening hours for museums and galleries.

Who knows, some voters might prefer real culture to booze and gambling.

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