UKIP county leader David Sprason boasts in today’s Leicester Mercury (March 16): “We are offering something radical and different.” By radical, Sprason meant UKIP were planning to help the Tory County Council adapt to massive Tory Government funding cuts by selling the Council’s headquarters and cutting the number of county councillors in half. So much for offering a radical alternative to the Tories!
In the same issue of the Mercury, Mina Sharma the spokesperson for the Leicester City Conservatives called upon Keith Vaz (Labour MP for Leicester East) to stand up “for local causes such as fighting the proposed closure of Rushey Mead library.” (Mailbox, “Vaz should focus on helping area”) Such hypocrisy should be expected of our depleted Tory friends, as recently, when a vote was taken at Leicester City Council’s Overview Scrutiny meeting about whether Rushey Mead library should be closed, Tory Councillor Ross Grant simply abstained on the vote.
On the issue of the future of public libraries, the online version of today’s Mercury included a short video of UKIP’s Mr Sprason saying that he wanted “to make sure that the [County’s] libraries were secure for the future.”
But while campaigning groups across the country continue to demand that Council’s fight against all service cuts by implementing legal no-cuts budgets — as have been proposed by the Unison city branch here in Leicester – Sprason is primarily concerned with carrying through Tory austerity and cuts, not opposing them. When Sprason talks about protecting services for the future, he is not talking about protecting funding for public libraries, but about handing our libraries over to charitable groups with little or no funding provided by local authorities.