losing libraries 08-02-2011

on saturday morning I went to blackbird leys library in oxford to take part in a read-in as part of the national day of protest against the planned library closures. it was very very sad to stand in a building full of books and light and warmth and passionate people that will, if the government and the local tory council get their way, be boarded and shuttered and left to rot. i feel i should write something more about it here. but philip pullman has spoken eloquently on behalf of everyone in oxford (here it is) and I don’t think I could say it any better.

the reduction in the disability living allowance, the rise in student fees, slashed hefce funding to universities, the removal of the educational maintenance allowance, monumental cuts in council budgets, the massive and dangerous rearrangement of the national health service… i really do feel that the government of the country has been placed in the hands of a small group of self-serving, hypocritical, lying, under-qualified ideologues who are incapable of feeling empathy for people outside their own gilded bubble, who are deaf to any voices but their own and intent on using supposed fiscal prudence as an excuse to do what they have long wanted to do, radically reduce state expenditure and kickstart the process of privatising everything from health care to education to arts funding. and all of this under the orwellian banner of 'big society'.