Posts Tagged ‘Times Men’
No frost this morning which meant that we were able to turn some soil over. It is good to realise that in just a few weeks time we shall be kicking off our veggie growing season. Hopefully we will enjoy more sunshine than was the case last year for there is nothing better that sitting outside the shed watching the beans grow, at least they appear to be growing after a few glasses of Tom’s home-made wine. The truth is that the allotment is hard work for us chicken men during the winter but, to us at least, a real heaven once the days expand and the temperatures improve. Some things are precious and cannot be measured in money.
Sadly our society is becoming besotted by the religion of the market. If allowed to do so, the marketeers will kill off every humane, life-enhancing, generous, imaginative and decent corner of our public life. Maybe old Karl Marx wasn’t so far out when he pointed out that the market in the end will destroy everything we thought was safe and solid. “Eevrything solid melts into air”, he said. “All that is holy is profaned”. Of course socialism is long since dead but his words ring true today as the NHS is dismantled and even our forests are to be sold off. They are inevitable victims of a greedy ghost that haunts the boardrooms, council chambers and committee rooms from which we are ruled these days. Everything has a market value, nothing is sacrosanct they cry. Certainly not human life or peace of mind if the NHS and forests are any indication!
But it is the intended elimination of our libraries ( which gets the fewest headlines) that troubles me above all others. Faced with the need to meet huge budget cuts every council in the land seems happy to close them down. They are not profitable, cry the marketeers. Their value cannot be measured in terms of cash, say I.
I still remember the first library ticket my Mum obtained for me. I stood entranced before a zillion books and agog at the realisation that I could borrow any of them. I quickly developed a love of books that was to last a lifetime. The love of a book is like no other, you can get to know the characters and share their adventures and lives in your imagination. They can help you escape into a unique world, one that only you inhabit. A wonderful space opens up between reader and book. It is a space that opens up each time you pick up the volume, one of fear, excitement, and astonishment. Your own emotions are given back to you clarified, purified and valued. And libraries provide the key to that magical world that never rejects you, always fascinates you.
Of course libraries of today are much more than a repository for books. They provide expert advice on every subject known to man and then some. They provide internet services. Our local library regularly arranges lectures on local history and regular exhibitions covering art, hobbies and basic learning. The librarians are highly qualified and are happy to share their love of reading and learning with anyone who hesitates to develop their own self understanding to the extent of finding their pathway into the written word.
But this government is likely to prove infinitely more dangerous than the last to anything that appears to offer no profit to slake its thirst for enterprise. In its attempt to fob off those who protest at the loss of such things as forests and libraries, it offers a solution. Let charities and volunteers take them over they cry. How in heavens name could that possibly work?.
Is the role of a librarian so empty that anyone can step up and run it in exchange for a thank you and a cup of tea? And are there volunteers who are extremely literate yet whose lives are so empty, have no families to look after, no jobs, no responsibilities, and are so wealthy that they can commit hours of every day to working for nothing? Assuming such people exist they can, the marketeers tell us, bid for money from a central pot. In other words there will be a ‘bidding culture’ which will set one comminity against another. It will be a further step along the road to infecting every aspect of our lives with commercial pressure. Survive or die and if you survive that very act will kill another.
Perhaps none of this is too surprising given that the country is ruled by multi-millionaires whose sole motivation in life is to make even more. It may well be that the likes of Osborne and Cameron mean well but they simply cannot understand anyone who values anything that has no clear bottom line.
The renowned author Philip Pullman said recently that they should leave libraries alone for “they don’t know the value of what they wish to destroy”. Libraries, he insisted, are “too precious to destroy”.
The only hope is that more people value forests, libraries and culture than the marketeers imagine. Should that prove to be the case they might listen, for there is one thing they value as much as money. That cross on voting slips!
THOUGHTS FOR TODAY; “I love mankind, it’s people I can’t stand”…Charles M Schulz. “I think I’m a pretty good judge of people, which is why I hate most of them”…Roseanne. ” There are three kinds of people, those who can count and those who cannot”….”George Carlin. “There are two types of people in the world….good and bad. The good sleep better, but the bad seem to enjoy the waking hours more”….Woody Allen. “People shouldn’t be treated like objects. They’re not that valuable”….P J O’Rourke. “The average person thinks he isn’t”…..Larry Lorenzoni “The useless piece of flesh at the end of a penis is called a man”…Jo Brand “They act like God Almighty because they’ve got a willy and can mend a fuse”…..Victoria Wood. “How do I know so much about men? Baby, I went to night school”….Mae West “You can tell a lot about a man y the way he handles lost lugagge nd tangled Christmas tree lights”…..Rick Makin. “My ancestors wandered lost in the wilderness for 40 years because even in biblical times, men would not stop to ask for directions”…..Elayne Boosler. “I never panic when I get lost. I just change where it is I want to go”….Rita Rudner. “God created women because sheep can’t type”…..Kenneth Armbrister”I’d rather be a woman than a man. women can cry, wear cute clothes, and be first to be rescued off sinking ships”……Gilda Radner “The reason men say women and children firstis to test the strength of the lifeboats”…..Jean Kerr
ANSWERS TO YESTERDAY’S QUIZ; 1. Enterprise 2. Brittany, France
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. Who played Frank Spencer in a TV hit? 2. In which TV show did Compo feature?