Transpontine sums up the cuts here, along with details of some of the campaigns against the cuts, in Lewisham and Southwark. Deptford Visions and Hangbitch report on the protests in Lewisham. Jim reports the obscene contempt our directly elected mayor, Sir Steve Bullock, has for the protestors. 853 reports from neighbouring Greenwich.
Andrew Carnegie, who donated it to the people in perpetuity, is one of the architectural gems of SE4, as well as a wonderful resource for families, older people, unemployed people, and school students. Brockley Central reports here.
There are "consultation" meetings over the summer (when many parents, a key user group, are away). There is a petition here. Locally based children's author Andy Cullen makes the case well:
My wife and I use Crofton Park library regularly with our children. Often we take books home; sometimes we just stay for an hour in the lovely children's library and explore and read together. This beautiful local library continues to be a valued resource for local residents and schools. After many decades of service it still has a vital role as a people's university catering to all ages and types.Other libraries are under threat too, including Blackheath. Five altogether might close, out of 12.
Before I move on to the general issues, two local links for my local readers: Why are South Londoners the best bloggers? and Get a free glass of wine at the final screening in the Brockley Jack Film Club season. (The film club website, by the way, also features nice pics of lovely local folk at Blythe Hill and Brockley Max.)
There are three more general points I want to make about these things.
The first is the most obvious, that we have to gird our loins in our neighbourhoods to fight these sorts of cuts, to defend our services, and to get through hard times, and we will need all the inner resources we can find to do this.
The second is the role of the left in this. Will it focus on this task? Half the left seems to me to be so obsessed with the Iraq war, Gaza, and other iconic "anti-imperialist" issues as to be irrelevant in these sorts of everyday unspectacular struggles. The other half is more concerned to use people's anger as recruiting fodder for their sects than actually effectively winning any battles.
The third is the question of how to deal with Labour local governments imposing the cuts (especially bearing in mind the huge swing to Labour in boroughs like Lewisham and Greenwich, partly caused by working class people and public sector workers turning out en masse to ward off the Tory cuts). This is another back to the 1980s experience, harking back to the poll tax era, when Labour councils, to stay within the law, had little choice but to impose her hated and hateful tax on the poor. This was a final straw, in many ways, for the Labour Party's "organic" relationship with working class communities (which was probably one of Thatcher's goals). Should we make a clean break with the party, or is it still a lesser evil?