THERE are several village libraries in Kirklees that are operating normally at the moment.
This would not have been the case if the council had had its way. It intended the libraries should be handed over to volunteers, which many felt was not viable.
Campaigners are glad they were able to preserve the status quo for the time being, but many of us are still concerned about the future of our libraries throughout Kirklees.
The combination of government spending cuts and the council’s ‘It’s Time To Talk’ agenda are a threat to the idea of libraries as a public service.
In the ‘Time To Talk’ meetings the council has been pushing the idea of volunteering and social enterprises as the ‘solution’ to the ‘problem’ of public services.
You can question how useful this solution is to most of our services, but they definitely will not work with a library. Councillors like the idea because it avoids the hard choices that could mean immediate closure of the library, but it is not sustainable once the initial enthusiasm and the pump priming finance begin to run down.
In other areas volunteer-run libraries have soon begun to die off and there are very few success stories.
Local libraries are still important parts of our communities, important for reading, for learning, for knowledge, for self awareness, for personal development and for social contact.
They are much more than book depositories, especially with the Kirklees model of the Library and Information Centre.
At Time To Talk, the council displayed graphs of projected spending, ‘showing’ that before long the entire council budget will be taken up by social care for the young and the elderly.
These are precisely the groups who can benefit most from a good local library and it should be seen as part of the wider social care, especially as the cost of libraries is cheap compared to these other services.
Library campaigners will be happy to work with the council to protest against cuts and to safeguard our libraries as a public service, but we do not want to be diverted into propping up an unsustainable process that will end up disadvantaging us all and especially the most vulnerable.
E-cigs stop smokers
WE welcome the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency's (MHRA) recognition of the role electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) can play in helping people cut down and eventually stop smoking tobacco.
However, while we acknowledge that it is necessary to tighten up the regulation of electronic cigarettes to ensure that essential safeguards – particularly those designed to ensure the products are not marketed or sold to children – are put in place, we remain unconvinced that medicinal regulation is the correct route to take.
We are particularly concerned about the signal that the MHRA decision sends to other EU countries considering medicinal regulation for these products, as less than half the countries in the EU allow like the UK, certain medicinal products to be placed on general sales lists.
In countries without a general sales list, e-cigarettes approved as medicines could only be sold in pharmacies, making them less available than tobacco products.
Limited availability of e-cigarettes could force ex-smokers to return to tobacco which would be highly undesirable for public health.
We believe that insisting that electronic cigarettes should be classified as a medicinal product makes no sense, unless conventional cigarettes are also required to be registered in the same way.
The truth is that users of e-cigarettes are not ill and do not consider themselves to be, so they do not require a medicinal product. If our objective is to save tens of thousands of people from tobacco-related deaths each year, then persuading smokers to switch to electronic cigarettes, at least as a first step, must be better than letting tobacco kill them.
The European Parliament is currently considering how to regulate e-cigarettes within the framework of the revision of the EU tobacco directive. We will continue to work closely with our Liberal colleagues and other similarly minded MEPs to come up with a way to better regulate e-cigarettes that would ensure these potentially life saving products are at least as widely available as tobacco products.
Lib Dem MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber
Trying to change
MEN don’t grow up until they are in their early 40s. Yes, my partner has always taken the decision making like washing up and ironing and making the meals.
Yes, she used to grumble when stepping over me to get to the ironing board. Any important or less important telephone calls she was at the mobile first. One day she changed when watching a television documentary about women’s rights.
Obviously me living in a Peter Pan world did not realise that women expect the modern male to do his fair share around the house, so I’ve tried to change too, like handing her the pegs when hanging the washing out.
Men and women have always been worlds apart in their thinking. It came to a head one night when the weather was foul and I refused to take the dog out.
Church shut down
ANOTHER church bites the dust.
I refer to Primrose Hill Baptist where I was baptised in 1981 and became a full member. Douglas Greenhalgh was the lay minister then and I have happy memories of great times of fellowship and friendship within its walls.
With church attendance in decline, far better a building used than stood empty.
I see with interest that this once holy place is now student accommodation. Hopefully those living there will enjoy living in a transformed building.
Once it was a busy place full of teaching and love and witness to God. Times change, places and people move on and may the love to Christ which once filled that building remain firm and deep rooted.
It was a living witness when I was there and now will again be a full and busy environment for those in it.
A great concert
ON Saturday, June 15 I had the privilege to be down wind from the concert in Lockwood Park.
Being of a mature age, I thought that the quality of the music was brilliant. Well done Kirklees for putting on such an event and feel sure that the crowd would have enjoyed it too. Let’s have some more like it!