Which events in London during 2011 will bring most lasting disgrace to the capital, and to the nation?Well, the riots. Surely?
The teenage rioters who plundered fashion outlets presented a dismal spectacle. But many will grow up and look back on those moments of madness with embarrassment.Yeeees, because that’s all it was, right? Just a ‘moment of madness’? Not organised greed and thuggery…
So, what’s top of your list, then?
The members and overpaid senior officers of Labour-run Brent Council have no excuses of youth, despair or deprivation. These boorish jobsworths have committed vandalism of a graver sort.Graver than burning down businesses and killing people? Really?!
What the hell have they done, because I’m pretty sure it’s not made the papers?!
Not content with winning the High Court case last week that sought to halt the closure of six branch libraries, Brent council – with indecent haste – dispatched wrecking crews.Oh. That’s it? They argued their case before a judge and won? Those barbarians...
On Thursday they were sent around the borough to board up buildings that for more than a century have brought enlightenment and inspiration to residents.Enlightenment, inspiration, and Catherine Cookson novels….
Of course, the library service requires reform. Many options exist to refresh dowdy branches.Oh, indeed there are. I've highlighted a few in this very blog. And they tend to drive away as many people as they attract, so it’s really a losing proposition all round.
For now, though, the Brent campaigners must be allowed to challenge this official crime against an entire community. And their appeal must prevail.Must it? Well, we’ll see….
Free public libraries are the mark of a civilised society. Remove them, and you're taking away another avenue of educational and personal development from the less well-off, and further ensuring that only the rich can get a decent education.
Come on: if a Labour council wants to shut it down, you KNOW it's something worth keeping.
The most everlasting disgrace to London, and subsequently the UK as a whole, is the slimy denizens infesting Westminster Palace.
It may comfort Lynne to know that the last time I went round Westminster I noticed that the new fortifications are also very good at keeping people in, unless they fancy swimming for it.
It wouldn't take much to turn the cameras to face inwards on the security fences.
XX Enlightenment, inspiration, and Catherine Cookson novels….XX
You want to find out if a town/area is thick? Check the book stock.
The amount of Mills and Boon on the library shelves are inversely proportional to the general I.Q of the served populace.
If you ask me the public libraries jumped the shark when they stopped stocking books and started fitting computers. You see the thing is almost everone who wants an internet connection has one at home and that has been the case for years so this "look to the future" moment from the libraries was deeply short-sighted.
I have to agree with...
"Enlightenment, inspiration, and Catherine Cookson novels"
A brilliant line Julia. Having said that the borrowing fees for Mrs Cookson's tales of awfulness in South Tyneside do pay for Newcastle University to have an absolutely world class genetics department.
But that is the problem. There is nothing in a modern library (they of course have fewer books because they have more computers) for the likes of me to borrow. It's all large print westerns for the codgers and romances for the biddies. That's what really screwed the libraries. Now if my local library (which is 2mins walk away and in four years of living here I haven't bothered to get a card) stocked a reasonable collection of say Greg Bear, Robert Heinlein or Philip K Dick then I'd be up in arms but as it is I really couldn't give two hoots.
BTW As a Geordie I am aquainted with the Newcastle Lit & Phil Society which boasts (amongst other things a mighty fine library). Membership - from GBP75 pa or GBP30 for under 30s or GBP20 for students. A bargain.
I now live in Cheshire though!
I wholeheartedly agree with Bobo, Lynne & WOAR ..
I'm a regular user of my local Public Library .. borrowing and reading, on average 10 books per fortnight (I'd sooner read than watch TV) ..
So I would deplore its closure ..
As for WOAR's feelings about Westminster .. they uncannily resemble my own ..
I live in Brent, OK one of the nicer parts, I went to the main library at the Town Hall.
What a waste of time, few books but many comic type publications. Even fewer in English, how can people learn English at their own pace if books are not freely available for them?
I used to live in another part of London that had a library which boasted 26,000 books on display, even this library is a sad caricature of its former self.
The councils probably find them too expensive to run, so run them down and tell us no one uses them. Indeed if this is the way the libraries are going they are not much of a loss.
Makes me weep for those who will never know the joy of a real book
Clearly you don't understand - it's a question of priorities:
Sacrifices have to be made, and the libraries will be making them.
"Come on: if a Labour council wants to shut it down, you KNOW it's something worth keeping."
Well, not always. Even they are right some of the time.
"If you ask me the public libraries jumped the shark when they stopped stocking books and started fitting computers."
Yup. And I say that as an enthusiastic library-goer. Or rather, ex-library-goer...
"I used to live in another part of London that had a library which boasted 26,000 books on display, even this library is a sad caricature of its former self."
It's enough to make you weep...
"Sacrifices have to be made, and the libraries will be making them."
Well, I must demur from the consensus on this one.
Personally I've no objection to old Fred and Doris borrowing Bodice Rippers and Westerns on the taxpayer's dime: they've more than likely put enough into the pot anyway.
However I wonder if Brent Council's legions of Diversity Five-a-day Outreach Coordinators to the Romani Community are still enjoying an untroubled existance?
fair exchange? Not so much.
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