Protect our libraries
I write to highlight the shocking decline of libraries in the UK since the start of the ConDem coalition Government in 2010, which has seen 343 libraries closed with a further 111 planned this year.
This has meant a staggering 7,933 library staff (around 25 per cent of the total UK library workforce in 2010) losing their jobs. A further 174 libraries have been transferred to volunteer or community run in the same period.
Libraries are needed now more than ever.
They support so many people and contribute so much to local communities.
Aside from the books and free internet access, the social support staff can give to isolated groups such as the elderly or those with physical and mental health problems is invaluable.
As with so many vital services, with more cuts in the pipeline, it is a sad truth that libraries and other local services will continue to be cut.
At the beginning of November, my custom for as long as I can remember has been to make a donation to the Royal British Legion appeal and to wear my poppy with pride until Remembrance Sunday.
In recent years, I have seen increasing numbers of women and, more recently, of men wearing jewellery crafted into poppies.
I have two concerns regarding this trend. I wonder what proportion of the cost of the poppy reaches the Legion fund? Secondly, since these poppies are jewellery items, they will not be discarded after the Remembrance season is over. When they are brought out the following year, I wonder how many of the wearers will make a further donation to the Poppy Appeal.
Along with most purchasers of the traditional paper emblems, I discard my poppy after attending the service at my village war memorial, knowing I can obtain a new one and make a fresh donation the following year.
For me the simple emblem is a poignant reminder of the poppies of the Flanders fields, something which the jewellery replacement fails to evoke.
The devil you know ...
This year I have often thought of the phrase: Better the devil you know, then the one you don’t. So it is with Clinton and Trump. I wanted Clinton to get in because she is experienced and, it seems to me, more sensible. This isn’t good enough for the Trump voters who apparently wanted a rabble-rouser and reality TV ‘star’. Whenever I saw footage of the American election, it was more like watching a soap opera crossed with the Jerry Springer show than political news. At this rate, I expect to see Jeremy Kyle to be elected as a future UK Prime Minister. After all, he’s a TV ‘star’, has zero political qualifications, and probably has plenty of money. In all seriousness, I worry that the world is becoming more and more out of balance and intolerant. Should we dismiss all Trump voters as stupid and racist (although some/many are) or are there other reasons behind this result? Have people become so disenchanted with the establishment they are willing to vote for an ignorant egomaniac? Has the political left ignored the working classes, those living in poverty and those worried about their jobs? Should we start listening to the disenfranchised before things get even worse?
Jane via email