Letter from Neil Owen re. Libraries
Letter from Neil Owen – Charlbury County Councillor
On Tuesday 15th February County Council voted for cuts across the board - libraries included. I voted with that. There was no other option. Unless one has buried one's head in the sand or is a 'deficit denier' this country is in financial crisis and that is a fact.
The Conservative Group voted for the cuts, our Coalition partners did not and Labour, who are responsible for this mess, sat on their hands. They did not even have the guts to present an alternative budget.
Now, it may seem strange to some of you that I can vote for cuts but still fight to save the Library. However, it is not so strange. There is such a thing as collective responsibility and we have to take a view for Oxfordshire. At the same time each Division County Councillor has a duty to fight for his patch. So I shall continue to lobby, hassle, jump up and down and do anything else it takes to save the Library - with or without any political opportunist who may think otherwise.
Due to public pressure and opposition to library cuts across the board, Keith Mitchell and his Cabinet are having to re-think. There is fresh money available from different sources and I am demanding a share of it to keep the Library going. Another result of the pressure exerted on the Cabinet by the public and involved Councillors is that the consultation will be real and meaningful and not a cynical exercise as is commonly perceived.
No doubt there will be a lot of aggro, hot air and mischief making during the consultation process but I shall remain steadfast and will do my utmost to fight for the Library. I do feel very optimistic.