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In due course, when it has become accepted as a truism, I expect Lee’s First Paradigm – as I’ve modestly decided to name my new theory – to gather a Nobel Prize. LFP concerns museum attendance, and

it or not, and it is an unpalatable fact for the do-gooding and politically correct to swallow, museums will always be for those who gravitate
to what they have on
offer driven there by some innate predisposition, curiosity or intelligence.

In what follows, I shall have to assume – against google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3967079123942817"; my better

judgement and experience – that the attendance figures with which src="//"> I’ve google_ad_slot = "6023194682"; been supplied bear at least some relationship to the truth…

The journey to LFP began as a result of

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a serious short item thrown away at the end of the last editorial. There, I reflected upon the latest fiction from the Tate Gallery. They claimed
that one justification for spending £45 million to renovate and rearrange Tate Britain – whose last building project was completed only ten years ago


– was the
increase in attendance at the museum over the previous decade leading to unanticipated wear and tear. Using their own figures


I demonstrated how in fact the attendance at Tate Britain had actually gone down by 12.5% in the previous ten years, and over
the previous 17 years
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by as much as 28%. In fact, in the 21 years of President-For-Life Serota’s imperium, with its routine claims of overwhelming Turner Prize popularity, huge public support for State Art in general, and greatly widened audience participation among Kalahari bushmen, Liverpudlian delinquents etc. etc., attendance google_ad_slot = "7160667483"; at Tate Britain has not increased at all.

Having over recent decades become used to politicians’ lies of omission, we all know that you can prove any old cobblers with statistics, src="//"> but the Tate’s statement was demonstrably factually incorrect.

I repeat: according to their own figures in the last ten years attendance at Tate Britain has dived //--> by an eighth.

Until recently it was common to see museum directors justifying their insistent pleas for yet more taxpayers’ cash with claims, naturally never substantiated, that their museums were more popular than at any time since the opening of Alexander’s library. These same directors rely on a docile google_ad_height = 90; press not to check such ex cathedra pronouncements. Those malingering time-servers called ‘Chief Arts Correspondents’ have much to answer for: they merely copy out what they’ve been told in press releases without ever thinking /* xin2 */ to verify any of it, although surely this should be their principle function. Admittedly they have to be wary of whose feet they tread on, for fear of suddenly finding themselves outside the loop, not to mention off the party and junket circuit.

Attendance figures at Tate Britain fluctuate but neither increase nor /* xin-1 */ decrease. The graph of visitor numbers is a modestly undulating flat


line. In long periods of peace time, such as those of the last thirty years, figures rise and fall slightly according to a number of unpredictable variables: the whims of audiences; the weather; the economy; the presence of a popular (or

ignored) blockbuster in


exhibition schedules; and, crucially, the capriciousness of foreign tourists.
Did you know for example that only one in four tourists visiting London make their way to the British Museum which, being free to enter, has to constitute the best value for money
anywhere in the world? It begs the question: if not for this
what the hell do the other three-quarters bother coming here for? This result, by the way,  undermines the fact that most foreigners state their main reason
for visiting is our free galleries and museums.

The popularity of our national museums is not, as is implied by their directors, a result of more British people visiting because of the sterling efforts made by their superfluous ‘outreachers’ or their overmanned and overpaid marketing regimes, or even their wrongheaded policies of dumbing down displays in google_ad_width = 970; order to attract idiots,

but because more foreigners have been tempted through their free portals. The single biggest factor in national museum attendance is not the damascene conversion to culture of

indigenous telly addicts but the relative buoyancy of foreign src="//"> tourism. Post-1945, as soon as food rationing ended in
’54 and cheap travel kicked in, attendance figures rise steeply. In the case google_ad_width = 970; of google_ad_slot = "8637400688"; the British Museum the