Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Do Tories Really Hate Books and Trees?

My latest column for "The Grapevine" is up, and focuses on the current debates in the UK about libraries and forests, and the relative defunding of each.  The article seeks to respond to the horror that the idea of privatisation has triggered in the minds of so many of the British public.  It argues that privatisation is not a terrible thing that destroys those goods and services that we love, but improves them and makes them better.

Of course, the fact that such an argument needs to be made, and is seen as rocking the boat, indicates just how far left British society has moved in the last ten years or so.

"One of the more worrying aspects of the political atmosphere in the so-called “austerity era” is that it is becoming clear just how much the public at large has bought into the left-wing concept that supporting something means throwing government money at it, and therefore taking money away from it means that someone must be against the project or scheme in question.
We have seen this in the last week with both libraries and forests. The prospect of cuts and sell-offs in both these areas has been met by howls of anguish by the political left and special interests who have concluded that this means that Tories hate libraries, books, trees and fluffy bunnies. From recent polls, it seems that the public has been swayed by this argument.
The logic is clear: if you like forests and libraries, then you must unquestioningly pump billions into nationalised libraries and subsidised forests, and if you so much as squeak in objection then you will be condemned as someone who hates greenery and poor people being able to access books.
Of course, this is complete nonsense when stated out loud, and yet it is an assumption that so many make. Yet there are many ways of supporting and preserving something through the private sector..."
The rest of the article can be found here.

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