The underlying issue here is the implication of the governmental decisions, namely that the heritage in its widest sense is insignificant to the wealth of this country. I find this rather more disturbing than the somewhat blunderbuss approach to determining priorities for academic funding.
Part of our problem no doubt arises from the growth of archaeology and other academic courses way beyond the sustainable in terms of careers. 'Twas ever thus, but the proliferation of courses, and the consequent increase in graduates, may not have actually served us as well as we may have wanted. I graduated in the days of wine and roses but my abiding memory of the course and the attitude of the lecturers and professor was that there were no jobs, and that unless you were really, really, keen, you should drop out. My year, as I recall, all stayed the course, and graduated with varying qualities of degrees. There were 13 of us, and no more than about a dozen other course, of similar size. I think we all, sooner or later (from my class) achieved employment, and most climbed the ladder with greater or lesser success.
But even 40 years ago things were not good.
People are genuinely interested in the past, especially their own and local past, yet it remains difficult to persuade the treasurers to dip into their pockets.
That is the job that we may have overlooked in recent years, when archaeology and heritage have had a generally better time than normal (which is not to say a good time). We have somehow failed to hold the attention of our communities and politicians (and I would argue rather more significantly the MBA generation of public servants) on the non-monetary value of what we do.
Cameron's government is doing what governments do in real or imagined hard times - savaging the powerless. It is the nature of the beast, yet this particular beast claims to value our 'well-being'. I argue that people's sense of well-being is greatly enhanced by a clear understanding of their place in the world and a vision of hope for their future.
In my view archaeology and the heritage help us to achieve that, and we need to trumpet that contribution.