Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/11474
'Big Society' on the agenda?
A meeting of over 100 angry residents packed into Dunchurch infants school, just outside Rugby, to hear the chair and local Liberal Democrat parish councillor declare that the only way to save the local library from closure was to staff it using volunteers.
It seems the 'big society' agenda is even being pushed by coalition partners at local parish council level as well as nationally.
Clive Dunkley, TUSC election candidate for Brownsover South, Rugby
The angry meeting was told about budget cuts being made by the Tory controlled Warwickshire county council which will result in 16 libraries being closed down in the county, including the one in Dunchurch.
With a defeatist attitude the Liberal Democrat chair of the parish council, Robin Aird, declared to the meeting that there was no way the county council would reverse these cuts and the only possible way to maintain a library in the village would be to run it as a 'big society' venture using local volunteers to replace the two women workers currently employed to run the service.
During the discussion some local residents, following Aird's negative lead, said they would get involved in running the service. However, two of the local election candidates from Rugby Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) - myself and Pete McLaren - made short interventions explaining that there are alternatives to cuts and firmly stating that it wasn't acceptable to sack workers and replace them with community volunteers.
We also pointed out that this is a weak government coalition that can be forced into U turns, giving the example of the protests in the Forest of Dean which helped to force the government to reverse its decision to sell off the country's woodlands.
Myself and Pete (who is TUSC candidate for Dunchurch ward) were the only people to receive a round of applause at the meeting. This shows that where a lead is given and a fighting strategy to resist cuts is put forward, people are determined and willing to fight back.