Thursday, 7 January 2010

Conservatives Cuts for Cornwall 4: Cornish Studies library

The latest revelation from the Cornwall Council budget papers is that the Conservatives are planning to cut staff from the Records Office and the Cornish Studies library in Redruth.

The specialist library is an incredibly valuable resource and an expert source of information for anyone interested in the history and culture of Cornwall.

Not surprisingly, with old papers and manuscripts, non-expert users of the library tend to need the help of the staff there to find what they want and, in my experience, the staff are fantastically knowledgeable and always keen to help. So cutting back on staff will mean the library itself will become less and less of a resource.

Cornwall's unique heritage and culture should be protected and I believe that cutting back on the records office and Cornish Studies library is a cut to our heritage. It is also exactly the wrong thing to be doing when we are planning on spending many hundreds of thousands of pounds - perhaps even millions - seeking to host the Manifesta Cultural Event and to become European and UK capitals of culture.

At Monday's meeting of the Communities Scrutiny Committee, Cabinet Member Neil Burden said that he would do what he could to reverse this planned cut. I very much hope that he is successful in battling with his Conservative counterparts.


Andy said...

You're right that it is a useful resource, but why should those who don't use it be made to subsidise it? If we Cornish (and tourists) care about our history and culture then such a facility should be able to operate on a commercial basis. If it cannot it does seem rather unfair to make people pay, through their council tax, for something they neither use nor value. Don't forget people are prosecuted if they refuse to pay. Is the library really so important that it is right to imprison someone for refusing to fund it?

Alex Folkes said...

You could say that about just about every service. Why should I pay the element of my council tax that pays for schools or elder care as I currently use neither. We do (and I'm glad to) because our taxes fund a decent society. Of course there will be a debate about making sure we are running a lean council that does not waste money either on unnecessary services or on overpaying for essentials. But I'm convinced that the Cornish Studies library is a vital service and is value for money.

Andy said...

And look at the mess that it made of both those services. Our schools are failing millions of children, churning out teenagers a fifth of whom are functionally illiterate. Do you see private schools failing children in such a terrible manner?

When was the last time you went to a state run facility which cares for the elderly? A memory which will haunt me forever was when I had to put my father in such an institution. The place stank of urine. There were not enough staff so while he suffered from Alzheimer's he was bullied by mentally ill patients. He had no idea where he was and no one to care for him. I could not afford to move him to a private care home because all my disposable income was taken from me to fund under performing schools and the hell hole I had to leave him in.

Is it any wonder that those who can afford it purchase private education and private care?

Look at the evidence before your eyes. We do not have a decent society, we have one where we are all made to pay for substandard services which are failing us, our parents and our children. We are failing those who most deserve our help.

Please remove yourself from the mindset that government and taxation does things best. The evidence shows it clearly does not.

Alex Folkes said...

Government and taxation should do things it must. Failure to do so leads us to the US healthcare system - where those who can afford to get very good treatment indeed but often bankrupt themselves in the process and the 20% who cannot afford insurance coverage get very poor treatment indeed.