The art of coalition leadership

It’s a remarkable coincidence but ministers in the new coalition government have selected paintings to adorn their offices from the government art collection to the value of £250,000 – that’s almost exactly the value of the Financial Service Authority’s art collection at Canary Wharf, when back in the noughties, Lending Strategy used the Freedom of Information Act to find out how much of readers’ money had been squandered on fripperies rather than on regulation or financial capability.

Arguably the value of the FSA collection has gone up since then, which is more than be said for the regulated housing and mortgage market under its watch, but that’s another story.

Apropos ministers’ art choices, also revealed under the Freedom of Information Act, the most interesting belongs to George Osborne. It’s a frieze by transvestite artist Grayson Perry. Called Print for politicians, it shows a world torn apart by prejudice. Given what the chancellor has in store for us, something depicting bread queues and soup kitchens might be more appropriate.