The march against austerity went ahead in Liverpool in spite of driving rain and bitterly cold blustery wind. We assembled outside Central Library and reminded Mayor Anderson that we had not gone away and would hold him to account if libraries were placed outside council control. The campaign against cuts, austerity, the bedroom tax and library closures goes on.
A new blog on why I mine real-life events for my novels:
Over the next to days I will be chairing the NUT Reading for Pleasure conference in the splendid surroundings of Stoke Rochford Hall. My keynote is this morning talking about a Reading and Writing School. Fellow author Bali Rai is here tomorrow. We also have Philip Simon, Karen Robinson, Kate Boddy and Paul Register to inspire the troops.
Here are a few links listing some of the book awards and festivals I am attending in the near future:
THE BOOKSELLER : 24th April
WBN authors defend libraries and teachers
Coventry Observer : 24th April
Election hopefuls called on to pledge support for Coventry libraries
Birmingham Mail : 23rd April
Trojan horse one year on
Birmingham Education Partnership will “lean on the council to boost community facilities such as parks and libraries” http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/trojan-horse-one-year-on-9095037
Exmouth Journal : 23rd April
Strong response to new library friends’ group in Budleigh Salterton
Includes info about Devon’s ‘mutual or trust’ plans
DAILY TELEGRAPH : 22nd April
Halving opening times at Birmingham’s brilliant new library is madness
Peterborough Telegraph : 22nd April
Vivacity confirms no compulsory redundancies for Peterborough library staff
Bristol Post : 22nd April
Saving Wick Road Library
Sheffield Telegraph : 22nd April
Objection to plans to knock down Sheffield library and rebuild it in new community hub
Spalding Guardian : 21st April
Lincolnshire | Stop digging a hole over the libraries plea
I will be at this march against the unfair and counter-productive austerity regime on Saturday. I invite you to join me.
March Against Austerity
Assemble: Central Library, William Brown Street, Liverpool.
Saturday, 25th April.
The next time some opponent of immigration smirks and says ‘we’ are ‘letting in’ the population of Milton Keynes every three seconds and that there are now 161 migrants for every blade of grass, remember Newquay. This pretty Cornish seaside town has a population of 22,000. 22,000 is also the number of desperate boat people who have drowned in the Mediterranean since 2000. That’s right, in a world where the UK can spend £100 billion on the Trident missile system whose only purpose is to never be used and where untold billions of pounds, enough to end global poverty, go into the pockets of tax evaders, the international community has allowed 22,000 people to drown just because they dared to go looking for a better life. It has withdrawn a more effective rescue system in favour of one that allows the death rate to spiral. This was not an oversight, but a conscious decision. Compassion has done much good in the world. Fear has wrought much chaos. Surely it is right to return to compassion.
What do we do when there are 600,000 people reportedly trying to flee North Africa, Martine Croxall has just asked on BBC News. Well, there are some fifty European countries. Say the richest took around 60,000- 80,000 each and the poorest fewer, that seems fair. Let’s face it, a quarter of the population of Lebanon now consists of Syrian refugees. I would rather see us show some compassion and absorb people fleeing war zones such as the failing state of Libya which our foreign policy helped create. Short-term we should reinstate the rescues at sea and offer a home to people fleeing. Medium and long-term we could open up a much-needed debate on creating an ethical foreign policy so that there are fewer states riven by war and sectarianism.