I have just read my colleague Tony Robertson's Blog where he highlights "misrepresentations" in an article from a recently distributed "Labour Voice" paper.
Tony went on to state:
The other day a newspaper called ‘Labour Voice’ dropped through my door and from cover to cover it is little more than party political ranting. But, there is an article about Library closures which so misrepresents what has happened to date as to be laughable.
It says ‘The review of the Libraries was launched in 2009 (that much is true) by the Lib Dems who were planning to close a series of libraries throughout the borough.’
The Library Review was actually launched by Labour, Lib Dems and Tories acting together as the Council was then ‘balanced’ with no one party in control. The Lib Dems did not agree to the review because we ‘were planning to close a series of libraries’ indeed as Lib Dem and Council Leader at the time I don’t recall any councillors of any colour calling for library closures back then.
I'd like to add more detail to this deceit.
An Overview and Scrutiny Committee, that I attended, on 3rd June 2008 agreed to set up a working group to look at the physical assets of Sefton's libraries. The group was to be chaired by Councillor David Pearson (Conservative), along with myself (Liberal Democrat), Councillor Veronica Webster (Labour) and Councillor Kevin Cluskey (Labour).
The group met on several occasions and we also took part in site visits to the libraries.
The Terms of Reference for the group were:
1.2 Terms of Reference and Objectives
1. To clearly establish the criteria for undertaking a Libraries Service Asset Management review.
At the first meeting of the Working Group, which was held on the 25th February 2009, Members received an informative presentation from Christine Hall, Head of Libraries, and substantial background documentation regarding the service. Following discussion at this meeting it was felt by Members that this review should not focus solely upon the condition of library buildings and that the review should take into account the wider aspects that affect service delivery. It was also felt that a comprehensive review would be a lengthy and complex process and therefore proposed that the review would be split into two stages. Stage One would determine the specific criteria for the review and Stage Two would undertake the actual review over a lengthier period of time in the next Municipal Year.
I can't find the word CLOSURE anywhere in the above text.
Libraries Final Report PDF 14 MB
I would therefore challenge Sefton's labour Group or their supporters to produce evidence to support their article.
The Review of Libraries was not launched by the Lib Dems. It was set up by a committee chaired by a Conservative. Two of the members present were Labour's Councillors Webster (Labour's current Whip) and Clusky (Sefton's Mayor). The Labour party made up 50% of the group!
The phrase "closures of libraries" does not appear anywhere in the report nor does it appear in the minutes of the meetings concerned.
I will leave it up to the reader of this post to decide where the truth lies and the possible reasons for the "misrepresentations" of the Labour Voice.