Here’s to the PLR – a great (and now late) quango

The air will soon be think with the sound of special pleading as George “Cat-Skinner” Osborne goes about his devilish work. On the whole, people accept the idea of public expenditure cuts in general; it is only when they get nicked or chopped by the axe that they become less enthusiastic. Here is my heartfelt […]

Hands off our public libraries

There was once a very silly government minister who floated the idea that Britain’s public libraries should be privatised. It was in the days of Margaret Thatcher when such talk was fashionable. Even so, the idea was quickly laughed out of court. The minister’s political career was over. Modern-minded Tories do things differently. They consult. […]

Libraries – and an elephant called Google

High passions and occasional dottiness are never far away when public libraries are under discussion. Earlier in the year, I wrote a light-hearted blog which induced an attack of the vapours in Ed Vaizey, the shadow Culture Secretary. Vaizey is now the Mr Big of libraries in the government, and his department has recently released […]

What’s green about cutting recycling?

To get a sense of the real news, of stories which have not been efficiently shaped and varnished for public consumption by the metropolitan media, it is often a good idea to read local papers. There, the apparently small events of everyday life can contain more real significance and truth than the latest well-spun policy […]

Terry and Teddy Edward: the library debate continues

Although I’m relatively new to the blogosphere, I have received an on-line ‘fisking’  a few times. You know what a fisk is, of course. The blogger takes an article or blog with which he disagrees and rebuts (he thinks/hopes) point by point, usually in a slightly irritating clever-dick way. Yesterday, within minutes of posting a […]

Jokes, charm and woolliness: beware the Tory way

A glimpse into our political future. At a dinner held by the august book trade body, the Society of Bookmen, the shadow culture minister Ed Vaizey explained to senior publishers, booksellers and the odd author how a Conservative government would behave towards books and those earn their living from them. It was an interesting performance, […]