Posts Tagged ‘Culture’
Ideal Happy Suffolk Library User.
In 2012 Suffolk LIbraries were taken away from public ownership (‘divested’) and direct control by elected councillors under a hard-right leadership of Suffolk County Council. They were given to an Industrial and Provident Society
Or as they put it,
In the first arrangement of its type in the UK, and after extensive consultation with the people of Suffolk, on Wednesday 1 August 2012, all of Suffolk’s 44 libraries and the mobile, school and prison library services were put under the direct control of the Suffolk’s Libraries IPS Ltd, an independent company registered as a charity.
Suffolk’s Libraries has a long-term contract with Suffolk County Council to ensure the service is delivered to an agreed specification and to work with local community groups to develop locally-focused services at each library.
The county council remains the statutory library authority, and monitors the performance of the library service through a framework that forms part of the contract.
As a member of the Ipswich Friends, who are on the list, I would be interested to know how this election took place – certainly it would be hard to recall being consulted, let alone presented with a ballot paper.
It would be possible to go further into this arrangement, whose transparency has been unfavourably compared to the Kremlin’s under Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev.
Our concern is the future of the libraries.
It would seem that a number of problems have come to a head: Ipswich Library is opening late tomorrow, because a special ‘Staff Meeting’ is taking place.
It is known (I have seen a copy of the, non-public, minutes of the meeting) that part of the Library is to be transferred to a business ‘hub’ of some kind (as if Ipswich needs another one….).
Appropriately commerce will replace part of the Arts section.
In the meantime a large number of books from all over the Central Library are ‘disappearing’ and some books on the shelves are ‘not-recognised’ – about to be withdrawn for sale.
One loyal member of staff say that these volumes have gone to a better, happier, place.
Others, less favourable to management, suggest that the “disappeared” will never be seen again.
The computer provision, which last year’s annual public report (a rare glimpse into the Provy’s workings) needs upgrading, is in a mess.
Some new terminals are available (though 2 have already broken down) with super, indeed excellent, service, exist (though their censorship filter blocks some left-wing sites).
Some of the old ones still function.
There is a shortage of free computers and great competition to use them – an essential activity for Jobseekers.
But near to them are the dead carcasses of extinct terminals, a sad reminder of former days.
We suspect a funding crisis is in the offing and “profit centres” are seen as the way out.
Note the word “suspect“, not “certain”.
It is said – from the Management – that “nothing has been decided yet” about the libraries’ future.
We have heard that one before: it is no doubt taught in many ‘dealing with a crisis’ master classes for managers.
Bardot to Quit France, a Nation Mourns.
On Europe I this morning and here,
“Famous French actress Brigitte Bardot threatened the French authorities, following her colleague Gerard Depardieu, that she would seek Russian citizenship. Bardot, being an active defender of animals, tries to attract public attention to the euthanasia of sick elephants in a Lyon circus.”
Bardot is most famous for her perfect bum, in the film, Le Mépris, and her ability to sing in the same key, again and again, for her- numerous – Records is an active supporter of the French far-right and animal rights.
“The BBC News Service is the worst in the world, except for all the others.”
The BBC’s director of news, Helen Boaden, and her deputy Steve Mitchell have been asked to “step aside” pending the outcome of an internal review (Here).
The fall out from the Newsnight report which led to former Tory treasurer, Lord McAlpine, being wrongly accused of child abuse in north Wales in the 1980s continues.
This is of great importance. The BBC is under attack by the usual quarters. The aim of some of them is not just to discredit the Corporation to hide their own faults (Murdoch) but to pave the way for its break up and privatisation.
There is little to add to comments on the McAlpine scandal.
Except that Michael Crick pointed out in the Observer yesterday that Newsnight had not contacted the former Tory Treasurer to put the allegations to him.
This contrasts with the normal procedures of the programme.
They have an absolutely rock solid and deserved reputation for solid investigation.
For example, earlier this year a Newsnight producer contacted me about a programme they were doing on Work Experience. We spoke for nearly half an hour on the Work Programme in general. Some of my concerns were reflected in the broadcast.
Thousands of other people will have had the same experience.
But the present crisis is not just of the BBC’s own making.
It is being fuelled by the long-standing attitude of political figures towards the BBC.
- Conservatives have long disliked the Corporation’s ‘liberal’ agenda. The Tory Cabinet resents the BBC’s refusal to let their opinions define its centre of gravity rightwards. Hysterics like Peter Hitchens blame it for moral decline. There is more mainstream resentment. Ipswich Conservative MP Ben Gummer whined recently when the BBC put his plan to give business people an extra vote and say in local politics on-line.
- Many on left are hostile to the BBC. Sometimes there is the sweeping claim that it represents ‘Wetsern values’. A more serious (and in my opinion, well-founded) objection is that it that it is biased against anything outside the ‘centre-left’. The coverage of Jean-Luc Mélenchon during the French Presidential election, was unremittingly hostile. Trade union action, above all strikes, are, as Le Monde has noted, considered in terms of “disruption”. The justice or otherwise of union demands is rarely considered.
- Politicians of all sides always want to ‘correct’ reports about them and their parties. The Malcoms of this world will say that they respect the right of journalists to report and comment. They, however, just want the ‘facts’ (that is their views) to be given.
Political creatures are naturally news addicts.
Much of what’s cited above are ways of saying, “we want the news we agree with” (I include my own reactions).
Today you can see others news channels.
Not just the respected Channel Four but Sky, Russia Today and Al Jazeera, are available on digital free-view.
Sky is piss-poor and bland. Russia Today is made up of faux ‘anti-globalisation’ reports which are at the limit of any kind of objectivity.
Al Jazeera by contrast is serious. It carries investigations into subjects, such as the discrimination against Egyptian Copts, that confound criticisms of Islamic bias. But is owned by the Qatari State, in which the unelected Emir holds supreme power.
For these reasons, for all Al Jazeera’s merits there are always bound to be controversies about its coverage. I have yet to see a documentary on the poor conditions for immigrant labour in Qatar.
The BBC faces no such objections.
This, then, is my, unasked for, opinion.
If anybody fucking thinks that attacking the Corporation is going to be an easy touch know this: many many of us have great respect for the institution and will back its independence to the hilt.
They have translated Claude Lanzman’s Le lièvre de Patagonie into English.
There was a fine article by Ed Vulliamy based around an encounter with Lanzman.
But our enjoyment of this (belated) recognition was really spoilt by this:
Lanzmann fought in the French Resistance against the Nazis. As a reporter, he sent word to the west of conditions inside communist states. As a war correspondent, he faced artillery barrages in Algeria and tear gas on the Paris barricades. But the story that cost him most heart-searching and grief was that of his own family. His father’s sexual abuse of Lanzmann’s mother, and the suicide of his sister, seemed too awful to write about. Now he has broken his silence. That kind of courage, bearing witness in the face of personal pain, is a type we can all admire and aspire to.
My copy of the book has a publication date of 2009.
Of course that’s in French, which obviously doesn’t count.
It was first given a lengthy article in English language publications by the Times Literary Supplement which has a rather finer record of reviewing European literature than the Observer.
I find it immensely distasteful that the Observer Editorialist chose to cite these allegations.
The first, focuses on the claim that Lanzman’s father attempted to have anal sex with his mother.
Judge of that what you will.
The second allegation is that Deleuze (the Leftist philosopher) was in some way, as a man conducting an affair with her, responsible for his Sister’s suicide.
To say that this is foul lie is the least of it.
Oh, and the book was reviewed on this Blog…a year ago.
That is the French original though there was a discussion of the Hebrew translation.
Which I think Ed Vulliamy would know since I don’t see anybody else making 25 hits on this (in the past two weeks) on this post on this site.
A point apparently done to death deserves to be repeated.
Did we need another Great Expectations?
The answer is clearly no.
Not that it wasn’t a fine dramatisation.
I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Magwitch was particularly fine.
But why was it made?
Now we can look forward to seeing the seriously flawed, uncompleted, novel Edwin Drood.
Okay it’s the anniversary.
But that’s not excuse for the dearth of drama from other than a tiny set of writers from the Great Tradition.
Are there no other authors’ writings available?
And not always English ones?
Time was the BBC would think, I have heard, of dramatising Balzac.
Now there’s someone who can stand muster with Dickens any day.