The Guardian, 24th April 2013: British culture should be seen as commodity, says Maria Miller

Why is this so dangerous?

The arts have a value that intrinsically cannot be monetised. That's the whole damn point. And that's why commercial success and great art so frequently don't go together. Art and advertising are mutually exclusive ideas. Maria Miller's small-minded agenda will encourage art that has the function and the depth of advertising, at the expense of all we should rejoice in: art's slipperiness, its rebelliousness, how it helps us come to terms with who we are, how it brings people together, how it can touch the ineffable.

The obvious counter-argument is that the arts generate an income but that this relies on subsidy at grassroots level. The commercial sector's need for the subsidised sector is an argument I've made countless times myself. But it's important not to see that as the whole story as, in isolation, it's a tacit admission that the market is a fair judge.

It's far too reductive to see the subsided sector as a seedbed and the commercial sector as a reward for success. Although as a whole the arts generate income, a lot of great art within that system doesn't pay its way and never can; it could never be translated into anything commercial. And that's bloody well how it should be.

Moreover, the arts that do generate an income have often become commoditised and have very possibly moved beyond the artist's control. And that's why solutions like forcing the commercial sector to support the new talent it needs, which see the arts ecosystem in such narrow terms, would be disastrous.