Saturday, 30 November 2013

Yes, Prime Minister

After what feels like a lifetime of emails and letters, I had a surgery meeting (he is my local MP) with David Cameron. Like I said in my last post I could have spent 15 minutes moaning about all the ills in public library world but it won't achieve much, but would have obviously been cathartic for me. I don't think I convinced him of the nonsense of volunteer libraries and how they save no money but I stressed their importance and he agreed. I showed him the ever increasing corporate recharges (not librarians! HR, property costs, etc) for Oxfordshire and told him there was similar stuff going on up and down the land where authorities geographically close together are cutting front line provision but because there's a artificial line separating them not looking to share these huge costs.

I feel guilty pushing my views to Cameron because I know they aren't shared by all campaigners, but I cannot sit quiet because of this. Labour, Lib Dems and the Tories aren't going to stop the cuts and they aren't going to reverse those that have already happened. As to whether the austerity is required I don't know, I don't think anyone really does. Certainly the national debt is historically low, the world wars took decades to pay off and the current level of debt compared to that is tiny. But would the bond market kill us if we let the debt go up? The failed and dodgy financial markets created the mess, I'd rather tell them to go bugger off. But again I don't know, economists and politicians got it completely wrong so I don't have any chance I think of getting the correct view. But regardless of my economic ignorance it isn't going away, Labour might be trying to pretend to be left wing again but there is a cigarette paper between the three main parties on policy.

Back to Cameron, he has said he is going to get his policy unit to look into what is going on in the Triborough and over in Ireland where they're standardising their IT systems and processes and get back to me, I have sent though some documents. I mentioned the complete lack of leadership from the DCMS on libraries and he said he would speak to Vaizey, I said despite the cuts, libraries could be doing loads better with some proper leadership.

We'll see what comes out of it, I have long since given up hope that a magic wand will be waved and all will be fixed. I used to keep thinking suddenly the penny would drop and people would all realise how important libraries are (not just about books dammit, a kindle isn't a library!). Politics seems to be like a big unwieldy ship (currently the Titanic :-( ) and its going to take a long time to turn the public library one turned round, and hopefully once we do it will be a constant battle to keep it on the right course.

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