Pullman's spat with council over library cuts, the sequel
Rob Sharp is a freelance journalist specialising in arts and culture. He was on staff at The Independent from July 2007 to December 2011, first as a features writer, and then as the paper’s arts correspondent. He has written for a wide range of newspapers and magazines. For more information visit his website, www.robsharp.com or email him at email@example.com.
Saturday 08 October 2011
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the library, an ongoing war of words has reignited between Oxfordshire County Council and the author Philip Pullman over proposed cutbacks.
The council leader, Keith Mitchell, has said that, if he does not cut his library budget, the county's provision of care to the elderly and disabled would need to be slashed instead. Pullman vigorously opposes this view.
Mr Mitchell said of Pullman and his fellow campaigners yesterday: "They are luvvies. If they ever needed social care they would be able to afford it [privately]."
In an article this week, Mr Mitchell said the likes of Pullman "refused to accept" that restoring funding to libraries would lead to deeper cuts to other services, most likely social care and highways.
Mr Mitchell has said the council had ringfenced certain "essential" budgets such as firefighting, but that central government policy restricted his control over the county's education budget. He said he now had few options regarding how to introduce cost savings of £119m over the next four years.
Pullman responded to reports yesterday that his campaigning would lead to social services cuts in Oxfordshire. "I think Keith Mitchell is factually wrong," he said. "I don't choose to cut services to the elderly one bit. If I had the time and the accounting assistance I could find many things to cut.
"But I haven't. He, or rather the council, has a statutory duty to provide a library service and they aren't doing it. But I don't want to get into a slanging match with Keith Mitchell because he's not worth it."
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Hair loss explained: How and why men go bald
- 2 Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe Ned Stark's son may have a twin sister
- 3 Artist takes LSD, draws herself over different stages of the 9-hour trip to show its effects
- 4 iPhone 6s camera: features to include 4K video camera and flash for selfies
- 5 A pint of water every day is the key to losing weight, scientists say
Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe Ned Stark's son may have a twin sister
Artist takes LSD, draws herself over different stages of the 9-hour trip to show its effects
Suicide Squad's Margot Robbie: Jared Leto's now more petrifying when out of his Joker make-up
Novel Scarlett Johansson tried to ban, Grégoire Delacourt’s The First Thing You See, to be published in UK
The Girl in the Spider's Web, David Lagercrantz, review: Stieg Larsson's heroes return in a thrilling new intrigue
Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out'
France train shooting: US soldiers speak of the moment they stopped gunman and 'beat him until he was unconscious'
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn