Thursday, 7 February 2008

Kristallnacht at the Carnegie Library in Ayr

Well, not quite. They didn't actually burn the books, according to the Ayrshire Post. They sold 200 'damp and mouldy' books and raised £450 for the hard pressed council coffers. So far so good.

Out comes a local authority spokesperson to add the sort of slant which only local authority spokespersons can. The sale brought in 'additional revenue' which the council would have been deprived of, had the books been sent for recycling.

Er, yes.

Not as much as it would have brought in, had anyone bothered getting the books valued. As the bookseller who bought them for peanuts did.

The 'damp and mouldy' books, some dating back to the 17th Century, have been put on sale for a combined £45,000 - 100 times what the local authority sold them for. A local civic society has spent £1000 of its own money to buy back some of them, but the vast majority have been lost to the library for ever.

South Ayrshire has the distinction of being the only Conservative local authority in Scotland, having seized control just over two years ago when the leader of the previous Labour administration resigned his seat. Last May, the voters gave the Tories the benefit of the doubt, blaming Labour for the cash crisis which the Conservatives had inherited. However, in the last two years, there has been a series of decisions which have made people wonder.

At Holyrood, the SNP depends on the support of the Conservatives in order to force through its budgets. In doing so, including the Council Tax freeze, the Conservative MSPs can claim responsibility for fiscal prudence at the cost of delivering a monstrous kick to the goolies of their flagship council, which desperately needs to raise some cash. Still, if its latest efforts are anything to go by, they maybe needn't bother.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

You shouldn't have apologised, Mr Hannan

Daniel Hannan MEP has apologised for comparing the powers of the European Parliament president to those of Nazi Germany. These rules allow the president to refuse MEPs' freedom to
speak and freedom to vote. One MEP has even being disciplined for displaying the word 'referendum' on a T-shirt.

The current British Government was elected on a lie: its manifesto at the last General Election promised a referendum on the European Constitution (now Lisbon Treaty), yet Broon is denying that to the British people. There are some principled Labour MPs, but the majority are brain-dead sheep who will loyally provide voting fodder for Broon whenever they are called upon to do so.

Bliar was elected promising to serve a full term: again, this promise was abandoned in government and we are lumbered with a Prime Minister who was not elected. There is no comparison with John Major replacing Margaret Thatcher: no one in 1987 could have forecast that happening: the change was made in response to events. The Bliar to Broon handover had been planned for years, therefore there was no excuse for the failure to keep the promise which had been made to the electorate.

When there is such abject failure to protect or even respect democracy in either the UK or European Parliaments, comparison to totalitarian regimes is not unreasonable. We need more elected politicians who have the courage and principle to speak out.