Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Libraries blah blah blah

Once again the metropolitan literati wade into the field of local cultural policy making. Rachel Cooke has decided that libaries are in crisis. That they are statutory services, that she trots out anecdote not evidence, that she feels she and her column could and should trump local decision making - all of this is part of that same pattern of argument which sees cultural critics think that they're expertise stretches from judging plays and books to making a call on what local services should be delivered in particular local communities.

I've made this point before, and it would be tiresome to rehearse it again - tempting though it would be to pen an extended critique of Ms Cooke's article.

Suffice to say that Rachel Cooke's statement that Andy Burnham should be more attuned to her view because he went to a state school "before Cambridge" is patronising at best and dismissively arrogant at worst.

Councillors and local service managers meet local people and users every day of the week. They know more about what people want than Rachel and her ilk can ever hope to.

They just don't have newspaper columns to give free range to their views.