This text is a transcript of the speech given at Lincolnshire County Council Full Meeting by Councillor Steve Palmer (13th September 2013)
We hopefully all agree we live in a democracy. We all hopefully agree that we are here to make grown up decisions sometimes painful but not life threatening. As they stand these proposals are very likely to be terminal to the Library Service.
This Council in a previous administration has made a decision to cut one third of the Library frontline service budget without first assessing the full impact of that decision.
The fact it now comes out that the impact is far out of ratio. In that it will effectively threaten closure of two thirds of the fixed bricks and mortar Library provision and three quarters of the current mobile service. Did the previous administration know this?
If they did it was it deliberately hidden until after the elections in May?
If they didn’t is that not gross incompetence?
This administration which has a completely different composition and does not have a huge majority conservative make up anymore is being asked to sit back and let the nine Executive members 8 conservative and 1 Liberal Democrat take us down this destructive path.
Our proposal brings back the principles of a democratic and transparent authority in that it will allow the results of the consultation to be used and fed into a cross party working group with a scope to fully explore all avenues and not just the limited Hobson’s choice that is currently on offer and then allow full debate by all elected members.
It has been an interesting couple of months since these proposals were made public, the public consultations, mostly located in areas where the Library was not threatened and only available if you booked in advance to attend.
The consultation papers, where choices were limited to answers the public did not want ether way.
The protests and petitions and the passion of the people who love libraries.
All opposition parties have objections to these proposals.
The Parish and District councils MPs and celebrities who are against the proposals. The rejection of the recommendation of the Scrutiny committee who voted against the proposals and of course the huge amount of adverse publicity this proposal has created.
I suspect that we are in danger of knowing the price of the Library Service but do not appreciate the true value of it.
So in conclusion I would ask you to support this motion to restore faith in democratic inclusivity of all members in this important statutory frontline service and to show transparency in our decision making process and if at the end of all this cuts are still required at least the people will know we have explored every avenue possible.
My favourite author is Tolkien writer of The Lord Of The Rings and is it not ironic that there were nine rings to bind them and into the darkness lead them. I wonder who has the one ring of power.
Councillor Steve Palmer is County councillor of Alford and Sutton on Sea, East Lindsey District Councillor Sutton on Sea North, Town Councillor Mablethorpe Trusthorpe and Sutton on Sea.
Note: The motion was not supported and the future of the libraries now lies with the nine members of council executive.
What next? The #BigLibraryMarch
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