Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What you reading for?

201 libraries across Britain closed this year. The modern institution of the public library started with the 1850 Public Libraries Act. Similar to the act establishing the NHS, the libraries act took a patchwork of services and made them into a common feature of public life, free at the point of use. Generations of self-education have gone on in libraries up and down the land.

But this is nothing to the current local government minister, Eric Pickles. According to him concern over library closures is restricted to luvvies (clearly no one reads books in Brentwood and Ongar, at least no one who votes Tory).

This attitude is common across the mainstream political parties. The leader of Brent Council, a Labour borough, told residents of Kensnal Rise they had nothing to be concerned about with their local library because “people buy their books at Tesco” these days (so does Tesco have a reference section now?). Brent Council then sent in the goons overnight to strip the library, not only of the books but all the paintings, murals and even the plaque dedicated to Mark Twain (the Mark Twain) who took part in the opening ceremony in 1900.

£20 for a hardback book is nothing to the likes of the political class, it’s an awful lot lot a working family. Lets not forget libraries are internet hubs, free at the point of access. Remember, Austerity is about making life meaner, harder and narrower for working class people, it is also about driving them from public life. 

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