Friday, February 05, 2016

The dismantling of Swindon 2 : Now they've come for our libraries



First it was leisure centres, then it was Lydiard, now it's the libraries.

The dismantling of Swindon's civic infrastructure has taken a frightening twist.

Swindon Borough Council wants to cut the budget for Swindon Libraries by 65% by 2020, and wants to save £300,000 in the next year. Eventually, it wants 14 of the 15 libraries to be run by volunteers, with the Central Library being the only SBC-funded library in the entire borough by 2020 (no doubt with less services in it than currently).

That's it. No other option, it would seem, is being entertained by SBC. 

Last year, Swindon Libraries loaned 1,013,108 books. That's 5 for every person in the borough.

Last year, Swindon Libraries had 1,049,172 people visit.

Out of 16 comparator authorities, Swindon Libraries came third for engaging with the public, placing Swindon 3rd for the number of active borrowers per 1,000 population.

Despite being a smaller library service, in the South West, Swindon Libraries is ranked 2nd for number of visits and 1st for the number of books issued.

Swindon Borough Councillors will talk endlessly about making the town better, about vague visions, aspirations and a town we can be proud of with a new museum and art gallery, a university, waves of private sector investment and a town centre that's nice to look at and be in.

Well here's a bit of our town that functions well, actually, better than well, excellently well when compared with library services in many other places and costs us each 3 pence a day. Yes, changes are needed, but cutting out a town's access to a high quality service that serves children, young families, students, the jobless, the socially isolated, the economically isolated, the geographically isolated, the uneducated, the education-hungry, the elderly, ethnic minorities, the poor, those with learning difficulties, those with dementia, the homeless, the new arrivals, visitors, those with low confidence but high hopes, the weak, the ill, the ambitious, the studious, the driven, the curious - the people of Swindon, is a cruel and cowardly act.

Who amongst our councillors will stand and fight against this and for all these people above? 

Do they have the guts? 

Because they certainly have the votes, because we elected them.

Our town's motto is 'Salubritas et Industria' translated as 'health and industry', a healthy town is an educated one, the Victorians knew that, but it appears Swindon Borough Council either doesn't understand it, or doesn't care. 

Maybe they need to visit a library for some help.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Top Ten Things Overheard On Swindon's Buses Last Week ; 302

Click here for the original at this brilliant idea, here's our own version for Swindon's buses from last week.

10. I'm staying true to myself and if he doesn't like that, then he can jog on my dear.

9. There's a gang of people after him, I don't know what the hell he's done but he better watch out.

8. He's desperate to let her know he's not with her anymore.

7. I'm going to ask the interview panel if they can really cope without me.

6. It's the element of surprise that he does really well in his movies.

5. It's raining again, you'd think there wasn't enough water for it to keep going like this.

4. He's got me all the details of Universal Credit, I don't understand it.

3. It's a ready-made lasagne and haddock pie, I might have both for tea.

2. I sold him my old phone and never detailed all the pictures on it, god knows what he thinks of what he's bound to find.

And the number one overheard phrase on Swindon's buses from last week is...

1. Two weeks booked in Greece, all-inclusive resort, I need to get a bikini and a spray tan before I go.

Overheard something we've missed? Then let us know.

Top Ten Things Overheard On Swindon's Buses Last (Last) Week ; 301

Click here for the original at this brilliant idea, here's our own version for Swindon's buses from last week.

10. Don't think Derek doesn't know the secret of what's all happening.

9. Am I right in thinking he keeps the money from the tea fund hidden in his desk.

8. He's been doing it for 27 years but no-one seems to have noticed.

7. I suppose if head office had known what they were doing we wouldn't be sat here at 2 o' clock.

6. They can't win, we've got no chance in this weather.

5. They want to go to Nandos and so do I.

4. An energy field, does that have anything to do with duel fuel?

3. Shell suits have never been a good idea.

2. It's very destructive.

And the number one overheard phrase on Swindon's buses from last week is...

1. Sam holds together his phone with sellotape, so I really wouldn't rely on him if I were you.

Overheard something we've missed? Then let us know.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Top Ten Things Overheard On Swindon's Buses Last Week ; 300

Click here for the original at this brilliant idea, here's our own version for Swindon's buses from last week.

10. Whatever chance you thought you had with her has now gone a long way into the distant horizon.

9. Is it difficult to remember why you originally set the business up?

8. That road is so crappy, everyone parks illegally and nothing has ever been done about it.

7. She started working with me on Saturdays, then became a supervisor, now she thinks she's Lay bloody muck.

6. As a kid it was obvious he wasn't real.

5. We're booking for Marbella, absolutely love it, been there three times a year since 2005.

4. I can't stand looking at yet another salad if I'm honest.

3. She didn't start to walk until Carrie finally left her alone to do it, instead of being dragged up on her arms and trying to get her legs to take the weight.

2. It's nearly at 300 now, now onto 600.

And the number one overheard phrase on Swindon's buses from last week is...

1. Judging by the number of people that went to that meeting, the councillors who think doing this to Lydiard is a good idea couldn't be more out of touch if they were dead.

Overheard something we've missed? Then let us know.

Top Ten Things Overheard On Swindon's Buses Last (Last) Week ; 299

Click here for the original at this brilliant idea, here's our own version for Swindon's buses from last week.

10. Keeping it to yourself is not going to help, if I was in the same position I'd reveal it to all.

9. Did you get that top in the end, or did they only have it in lemon?

8. If you'd asked for more you might have got more, you've just got to take a chance some times and ask.

7. This bus always smells of weed.

6. They closed the road last week and didn't put any signs up, I spent 20 minutes working out where I was allowed to park.

5. But no-one likes January, it's like the nasty step-child of the months of the year.

4. He could have made it so easy for himself and said no to going out with her, but oh no, he went along with it. he's far too easily swayed.

3. Everyone I know that goes running listens to the Rocky theme when they do it.

2. There's a diet I got told about that's been banned by the teachers.

And the number one overheard phrase on Swindon's buses from last week is...

1. Clive mentioned something about his wife and then, abracadabra, he's getting a divorce.

Overheard something we've missed? Then let us know.

Top Ten Things Overheard On Swindon's Buses Last (Last, Last) Week ; 298

Click here for the original at this brilliant idea, here's our own version for Swindon's buses from last week.

10. He could see me with that shine, it was quite something.

9. Sandra kept herself quiet after seeing what the accounts team building had achieved in 10 minutes.

8. They want to move us from Level 4 to Level 3 and rent out the floor to some storage company.

7. She's got no shame, they've still got their Christmas tree up.

6. Kate said they'd cut down on their drinking, but that only brings them nearly to average for their weekly intake.

5. It was an amazing year if you take it all in all.

4. Forgetting where they were it was obvious that they don't go out very often.

3. I laughed so hard I started coughing and couldn't stop.

2. If he does insist on wearing those trousers then he deserves everything that's coming to him.

And the number one overheard phrase on Swindon's buses from last week is...

1. Living like the 1980s isn't going to help him get in touch with his feminine side.

Overheard something we've missed? Then let us know.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Top Ten Things Overheard On Swindon's Buses Last Week ; 297

Click here for the original at this brilliant idea, here's our own version for Swindon's buses from last week.

10. There was a skate park right over the back when we were little, great it was, lost my knees there.

9. They've cut down all the trees, so Mark's back garden is now bare for all the world to see.

8. I'm not surprised you got stuck in traffic, that load should have had an escort at this time of year.

7. We never have turkey, we always have fish.

6. You could feel the whole building moving, I told him to turn it right down, which he did eventually.

5. If she put just a small amount more into what she did, then there would be so much more to see.

4. This top is already coming apart and I've had it on two days.

3. Don't let Nate keep you from trying out for it, besides if you don't get it, he'll never know.

2. It was 3am and I still had the same two things rattling around in my head.

And the number one overheard phrase on Swindon's buses from last week is...

1. He got a pair of socks, and a small model of Elvis, he was much happier with that than anyone thought he'd be.

Overheard something we've missed? Then let us know.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Top Ten Things Overheard On Swindon's Buses Last Week ; 296

Click here for the original at this brilliant idea, here's our own version for Swindon's buses from last week.

10. We went onto talking about his operation, but there was no showing of scars.

9. Back in the 1950s he was the only one in southern england you could buy it from illegally.

8. The Smiths are from Croatia originally, but they changed their name.

7. I was reading a few days ago about how much we'll spend on rubbish this Christmas, it's disgusting.

6. Too bad you didn't get two of them, then Trish could have given one to Sharon as well.

5. It's on Twitter, the whole conversation, with all the swearing and bitching, I'v copied and pasted it to it's saved forever.

4. He'll more than likely get me a crappy gift card for a shop that we don't have one in town of for me to go in.

3. Don't get me wrong, I don't think it's bad, I just want something better to watch on Christmas Day.

2. It keeps being mentioned about Christmas jumpers, when did Christmas have to make everything, from sprouts, to jumpers and turkeys all ironic? It's like trendy people have just started getting involved in it.

And the number one overheard phrase on Swindon's buses from last week is...

1. I'm getting everyone small bottles of miniatures for Christmas, then pouring them into full-sized empties to show them what they're missing.

Overheard something we've missed? Then let us know.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Top Ten Things Overheard On Swindon's Buses Last Week ; 295

Click here for the original at this brilliant idea, here's our own version for Swindon's buses from last week.

10. The smell drifted over the top of her cubicle, lord you could smell everything.

9. That was so beautiful.

8. I got some stuff in the cheap shop then realised I could get it cheaper in Tesco.

7. She claims that Katey speaks French, but she only knows about f things.

6. They went out for drinks, then found out that they should have been in the bar next door and decided to not tell anybody.

5. Neil just will not shut up about it all.

4. We booked the table for 7.30 and people had been out drinking since 4, it was a disaster.

3. I worked 12 hours only to find out he'd done no shopping, cleaning or made anything for tea, I totally lost it.

2. Shampoo, facewash, a new toothbrush and a little nail file.

And the number one overheard phrase on Swindon's buses from last week is...

1. They want to sell Lydiard, cunts.

Overheard something we've missed? Then let us know.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The dismantling of Swindon : Ideological agenda rears it's head at Lydiard

The twists and turns of councillors and SBC officers shows up the Lydiard House and Park sell-off for what it is : a crude and quick exercise in accountancy driven by a ideological political agenda to dismantle Swindon's civic infrastructure while using the smoke and mirrors to cover your arse as you go.

The claims that the subsidy for Lydiard 'cannot carry on' is not an absolute carved in stone. It's simply  a local extension of national government policy for reducing the size of the state for political ideology.

The Conservatives lay the cause for this austerity and permanent reduction in the size of the state at the door of Labour for overspending massively when in power. Never mind that the majority of money was spent bailing out the banks in the later years to keep the financial system from collapsing in on itself and dragging the economy down. Despite this being fact, Labour have never, since even in the run-up to the 2010 election, been able to get that across to the electorate in any measurable amount.

Certain SBC assets and projects seem to still be happily on the balance sheet at having subsidy thrown at them, the Whalebridge Car Park, STEAM, the art gallery rebuild project, Forward Swindon and more.

SBC is now simply an accounting exercise, how much can be sold off and assets-stripped, or handed over to parish councils.

And Lydiard? Well SBC cannot now confirm that a sell-off would not see restricted public use of the park, and why? Because no matter what's been said prior, if someone wades in and waves enough money, SBC will sing like a canary.

None of this is being done for the greater good, it's being done by a ruling party hell-bent on reducing the size of local government because it positively salivates at the thought of the private sector doing everything in town.

The only two hopes :

- That the local Labour party come out with all guns blazing and defend it to the bitter end, that this is the ultimate line in Swindon's sands. Turn up the volume Swindon Labour and draft in some big names.

- People power, start by signing the petition.

Swindon needs leaders of vision, a council of high ideals, not politically ideological monkeys in suits pretending to play monopoly with the very civic fabric of our town.