Archive for January 21, 2011

The cuts are coming; quick, hide the books!

January 21, 2011

How many people would it take to take all these books out?

It may have escaped the notice of some people but this blog is ‘pro’ local government.

However, that does not mean that we automatically get upset when local residents act to protest against what is going on in their local council. To be honest it is often reassuring to know that the people we are serving care enough to get upset about what we are doing.

Protest is not necessarily enough to get a mention in this blog though. What we really appreciate is when residents do something amusing in their protest.

Standing outside the council and chanting just doesn’t cut it, nor does chanting whilst holding an amusingly worded sign; even chanting with an amusing sign and a costume is not quite enough.

The people of Milton Keynes though know just how to do it. As the BBC detailed:

Library-users have emptied a town’s library of books in protest against plans to close it down.

People have taken their maximum allowance of books from Stony Stratford library, Milton Keynes – clearing all 16,000 volumes from its shelves.

That is one hell of a protest, and they managed to ”over’-use a council service without causing untold pain on us poor local government workers. A similar set of protests might be as follows:

  • A mass swim: People turn up at the local swimming baths at the same time; those who are not aloud to swim take their place in the ‘watching area’ and entertain themselves by cheering on the lane swimmers and doing Mexican waves.
  • Catch the bus: Where Local Authorities still provide the bus services residents could all go along and catch the bus instead of driving for a day or two.
  • Pop into the one stop shop: Take advantage of your local one stop shop; pop in and ask one of the advice officers something related to your council services.
  • Visit your council’s website: Just click through as many times as you can; if you need motivation keep clicking until you learn something new

However, and here is my moment to get serious, the problem with these protests (and similar efforts to save post offices through petitions etc) is that they all reflect people making a special effort to use a council service that they otherwise ignore. If all 16,000 books were out of the library all of the time would the council really be seeking to cut it?

Still, I do love a good protest!

And if anyone has any other protest ideas please do add them below…