This morning (Saturday, July 12th), I attended a hugely successful demonstration in Doncaster against library cuts. At eleven o’clock several hundred protestors gathered in front of the Mansion House. The atmosphere was light-hearted, with colourful banners and balloons on show, but there was anger too in the wake of Mayor Winter’s denial that there were any serious reductions in spending on the Service. Local librarians, Unison members, teachers and members of the general public set off on a march around the town centre. On behalf of the authors’ campaign to support the librarians’ fight for justice, Helena Pielichaty and I both spoke.
But the day belonged to the librarians themselves, some of them dressed as story book characters to emphasize the quality of the service they provide to the people of the town. Many passing cars tooted their support and the demonstration wound up back at the Mansion House in carnival atmosphere.
After this terrific turn-out, local trade unionists will feel encouraged by the show of public support they have received. I would renew my call on Mayor Winter to come clean on the extent of reductions in funding and to accept my offer of a public debate on the future of Doncaster’s libraries. I would also appeal to the town’s MPs, Ed Miliband, Caroline Flint and Rosie Winterton to finally speak out publicly and honestly and say where they stand on the issue.
Today’s demonstration is not the end but the beginning of a long campaign.
(I will post further items of news and photographs as I receiveÂ them).