At this weekend’s Library Campaign Conference the author Philip Pullman gave an inspirational, polemical, rabbble-rousing speech about the fight for library services, in which he supported calls for nationwide action.
A transcript of this speech has now been published on The Bookseller’s website and we strongly recommend clicking through and reading – it is a wonderful piece of language and a shot in the arm for all of us who care about reading, writing, literacy, libraries and the wellbeing of our communities.
Here’s a short extract. You can also read a Guardian article reporting on the speech and we will shortly be posting a full conference report.
The Bookseller: Consider the context – Philip Pullman
What about the financial crises we’ve endured over the past few years, and the way the bankers managed to reward themselves with even bigger bonuses after nearly bringing the whole national economy crashing down around our ears? And who’s been terrifying governments with the threat that unless these gluttons were indulged in their every appetite, they would all go off and live in Switzerland? Personally I would say Go, you bastards, and good riddance; but Prime Minister after Prime Minister has been persuaded that we need rich people taking advantage of us in this country. It’s good for us to be taken advantage of.
And when we look at the consequences of all this activity, we see a nation where everything seems to have been turned upside down. Do you remember the arguments in favour of privatisation? The state can’t run things efficiently, we were told; we need to put enterprises into private hands. I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that privatisation makes things more expensive, more complicated, uglier, more difficult to deal with, more difficult to find someone responsible, in every way worse.
And we have very little democratic protection against this. Were we ever asked whether we wanted a state of things like this? Do you think we ever will be? Read the full speech here…