|keep calm and do nothing|
Tony Blair government (only in 2002 did the UK ratify the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. twenty years late)In that time many scandalous transactions have taken place on the London "art" market, some of the scandal involves the UK government itself (HMS Sussex, the Symes collection) while beneath the surface looters and smugglers continue to shunt vanloads of illicit artefacts through the UK. A pathetic "Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Act 2003" was passed and has only been used once to prosecute a young lady over something she said had been found in her garden,* it is a dead-letter law of no use to man nor beast. There is still no such law in Scotland. Metal detectorists rampage the countryside at will, removing millions of unrecorded archaeological items to ephemeral personal collections, most of which material never surfaces again.
Gordon Brown (no action)
David Cameron (?)
There are two reports with recommendations on "Cultural Property: Return and Illicit Trade"
Culture, Media and Sport Committee special report 2000
Culture, Media and Sport Committee special report 2003
A decade on, how many of those recommendations have been actioned? What has been happening since?
* Do please note that the PAS press release boasting about this 'success' has disappeared.