Monday, August 8, 2011

Private fears in public places

You'd think, with experience of the disasters of rail, gas and water privatisation, that privatising libraries would be a non-starter, even for this government. Oh no. What is interesting here is that, after a long period of silence, Tim has found his voice again, speaking out about how mean library campaigners are to LSSI, the US private equity company that has now taken over a fifth of the land of the free's public library services and wants to expand over here. LSSI's British operation (which intriguingly shares a London office address with the Sue Hill employment agency) has been making overtures to several British library authorities, hoping for easy pickings.

Tim's post is all about how opposition to LSSI is based on xenophobia, ignoring the fact that a lot of Americans oppose them too. It represents a volte-face, for not so long ago Tim was saying that privatisation would not work, 'there is no profit in it for anybody and there is no income because it has to be a free service.' Croydon Advertiser, Friday, June 10, 2011

The question for Coates Watch is this: is Tim's change of position on library privatisation real? In which case what has happened to change his mind? Or, did he always believe in it, but thought it politic to keep his thoughts to himself until now?


  1. More to the point, what's happened to the Librart Alliance? You know, that thing that has gone nowhere that Tim set up with some people who run privatised leisure services?

  2. Absolument disparu, like Mother's mink. You have a better memory than we do, Skorpy; we'd forgotten that. We're reminded of those immortal words, at the time of the launch, ''so in these times of public spending cuts, what I say is that, in terms of the library service, they should have happened a long time ago'