Is a political campaign art? British taxpayers will find out.

Simon Roberts/Axiom/Newscom
An example of a photograph taken by Simon Roberts.

A perfect picture of British politicians still not "getting it" came with Saturday's news that photographer Simon Roberts has been commissioned by the Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art to document campaign activity in the run-up to polling day. Yes, taxpayers will be paying for Mr Roberts to travel around the country in a motor home during the campaign to shoot a few pictures.

The Advisory Committee's announcement gave no indication of how much this will cost and, in the greater scheme of things, it probably isn't a lot. But against the background of the MP's expenses scandal and the ever-ballooning government debt load, surely this august committee whose mission is to look after Parliament's art collection could have sent out a stronger signal that correcting both problems (their expenses and the national debt) can only be met by a relentless battening down of the spending hatches.

Given the wall-to-wall media exposure the campaign will receive, a few more photos for Parliament's art collection really are a luxury the country can do without. Egregiously, Mr Roberts himself is asking the public to send in yet more photographs of local campaigns for an online gallery, with some images selected for display at the official Commons exhibition after the election. Just what taxpayers want to see their money spent on - pictures of politicians.

Mr Roberts says "I'm particularly interested in the relationship between politicians and the public." Let's hope he snaps arrogant politicians on the receiving end of some airborne tomatoes and rotten eggs.

Add/view comments on this post.


The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best economy-related bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link above.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.