Blackheath Library hurtling towards Tripoli

It’s a great quote, and highly appropriate for Blackheath. It also chimes very nicely with the quote from pinefox’s blog shown below. Pretty much sums up almost everything I feel about living in London. So go and march on Saturday.

When libraries, pools, parks close, when civil servants are fired, we are told it’s unavoidable; there’s no more money; books must be balanced, debts paid. It sounds grimly plausible. But then a military scenario appears out of the blue, unpredicted, unexpected, a contingency not part of our plans and budgets. Not a contingency that we urgently need to respond to, like a German invasion force or asteroid heading for St Albans. No real threat is posed to British people or territory. The distance from London to Tripoli is, wait for it, 1,448 miles – a distance greater than the length of the UK or France. But here all the hard-headed economic calculation, supposedly uncircumventable, is shelved. The cold-eyed realists become sentimentally expansive. Infinite riches are promised to keep military jets in the air.

Cheaper Than Bombs


Filed under blackheath, politics

16 responses to “Blackheath Library hurtling towards Tripoli

  1. Michele O'Brien

    So, libraries in our time, would you say?

    Or perhaps as Chamberlain said before Munich, “a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing”.

  2. Richard

    So we should let people be butchered because you are too tight to go to Waterstones?

  3. Ross

    I have to chime in here. It just doesn’t work like that. We already made and paid for these years and years ago. We’re not getting them made to order.

    We have a stockpile and believe it or not they do have a shelf life.

    • When you say “these”, I’m assuming you’re referring to the libraries and the books inside them. Not the weapons.

    • ThePirateKing

      Gosh – might as well use them to kill some people then. I mean if they are nearly at their sell by date.

      • Ross

        I’m not arguing whether or not we should be using them.

        This whole article is saying that we are, right now, spending money on cruise missiles instead of funding libraries and that just isn’t true.

        Believe me, I don’t want libraries to close either and I don’t want to use cruise missiles unless we absolutely have to. I just want to read accurate articles.

  4. Dr Nick

    Seems to me that We (the British Empire) are trying to shuffle inconspicuously into good-for-oil-trade relationships with the next wave of governments across the unstabler bits of the (oil-trading) Middle East.

    In any case, keeping alive the myth of our “Top Nation” (per “1066 And All That”) status with the odd bit of stock clearance on hi-tech ordnance has worked well recently, as the benefits listed below show:
    – it got Labour re-elected in the 2010 election
    – it’s cost the country virtually nothing; cetainly not £100s of billions
    – there hasn’t been tragic and unnecessary loss of life in the Armed Forces, nor much greater and equally tragic and unnecessary loss of life in the local civilian populations
    – it’s eliminated terrorism globally

    As Lady Thatcher knew very well, a jolly good war *that our boys do well in* is a superb distraction from economic woes and recession at home. Remember how much more enthusiastic Cameron and Hague were than the Americans at the first sniff of potential armed intervention? Perhaps they were taking a leaf out of the Iron Lady’s book?

    Oops, a conspiracy theory! Tin-foil hats on, everybody…

  5. Polly

    Its probably politically incorrect of me but I’m going to say it anyway – I’m bored to tears of people banging on about the library closure. On the 10 or so occasions I’ve tried to use it in the last few years I have lived here, its been closed. Seriously – they close for ‘lunch’ every day, I mean how many credible businesses or services do that these days?!
    I really doubt whether most of the ‘socially aware’ people trying to save the library from closure have ever actually used it because it is hardly ever open.
    I’m really not anti-library at all, its just if we’re going to pay for a service out of tax payers’ money then it should be fit for purpose.

    • ThePirateKing

      I use / used the Blackheath Library with my three-year-old daughter. We thought it was great.

      Like you, I found the closing for ‘lunch’ very annoying and daft, but surely the answer is a bit more money to let it stay open at lunch time, not laughing at it as its forced to close.

    • Anonymous

      It is quite ludicrous that library workers leach on hard working taxpayers by demanding a lunch break. Who else has such a luxury in their job? It is also a disgrace to expect that after finding it closed 10 times a frustrated user might note the opening hours on the sign outside.

      • Michele O'Brien

        “It is quite ludicrous that library workers leach on hard working taxpayers by demanding a lunch break. Who else has such a luxury in their job? …”

        This isn’t France – more’s the pity.

        The time-honoured two-hour (12-to-2) lunch break that most workers and everyone else throughout France (outside the more frenetic parts of central Paris and one or two other big cities) enjoy is one of the greatest institutions for civilized living and behaviour ever devised.

      • ThePirateKing

        Err… I believe that with a bit of help from some grown ups it might be possible to devise a shift system where some staff have a break 12 to 1 and others have their break 1 to 2 thus the library could remain open when many people in the village have time to pop in ie their lunchbreaks.

  6. We have paid for the weapons. It costs us less to fire them than to maintain them, that is the irony. We’re not losing a library because of the situation in Libya, it is being lost because we always thought, wrongly, the money would be there year after year. It wont. As for Libya, we could sit here, not be involved; you know like campaigning one week to stop the war in Iraq and the next to ask for one in Darfur? War it hard, dirty and painful. Perhaps a few more books in libaries would help people undertand that..and economics.

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