I loved this, said by Alexei Sayle on Radio 4 last week:

Austerity is the idea that the global financial crash of 2008 was caused by there being too many libraries in Wolverhampton.

Sometimes one line says it all.

Accountant can’t count. That’s two lines. One sentence, sure, but two lines.

39 thoughts on “Excellent”

  1. It’s kind of mocking a non existent mind-set. Who thinks not spending money on libraries will solve a crash? Who thinks that a crash means there’s less money to spend on libraries? and who thinks you should ignore the less money bit and spend the same on libraries.

    1st group doesn’t exist.
    2nd group think austerity is necessary
    3rd group think austerity is unnecessary.

  2. It fits the Wikipedia definition of a one liner.

    It’s a crap one though because it’s at odds with reality instead of playing on it.

  3. M’Lud: Public libraries, perhaps, but we need a repository of knowledge, ideally several, and the Internet as such isn’t really robust enough. I don’t think we really want to repeat the Alexandria Experience.

  4. If manufacture of straw men drove productivity then Murphy would be the most productive enterprise in the UK.

    ‘Austerity is the idea that the global financial crash of 2008 was caused by there being too many libraries in Wolverhampton.’

    Murphy doesn’t understand the first thing about what caused the financial crash. He doesn’t know the types of financial instrument, and even a rudimentary understanding of derivatives is well beyond him as evidenced by countless Noel Scoper links.

    And the last point (albeit second hand is particularly pernicious) – Why the hell is Wolverhampton or anywhere cutting libraries as long as there is a single ‘five portion a day’ coordinator, ‘racial awareness co-ordinator’, climate change co-ordinator’ on the payroll. Of course if you raise that point he would designate you ‘ a troll’ for even questioning it but even by his standards this is disingenuous – and also wrong, as public expenditure continues to be at an all time record.

  5. Alexei Sayle has never made me laugh, but The Young Ones was hilarious so dunno if he’s a better writer than comic actor (see also: Ben Elton)

  6. I saw alexi style and the comic strip live at fresher’s week at university in 1981.

    Made me laugh.

    Now he is just another pretentious socialist millionaire. Telling left wing jokes and checking his stock market portfolio.

  7. To be pendantic, for luvvies, a “line” is the bollocks spouted after the preceding luvvie spouted bollocks & before the next luvvie spouts bollocks. They like big print, so can occupy more than one line on the script. Wonder who wrote Alexie Sayle’s line , originally? It sounds familiar.

  8. Austerity is the idea that, because Gordon Brown spent income from taxes on imaginary profits – and another 8% of GDP – before 2008, there is no spare money available to build extra libraries in Wolverhampton which has had a public library for 150 years.

  9. @M’Lud

    I have a great fondness for libraries, but the days when you needed a physical building within walking distance to provide access to the world’s store of knowledge have gone, and they’re not returning. Which is good news for everyone except (all but a few) librarians.

  10. Van_Patten,

    It’s the “Washington Monument” gambit, or the Red Arrows manoeuvre – when “cuts” threaten a budget, propose cutting or closing your most popular or visible assets. Woe is us! Fund us more! Leave all those cosy sinecures unexposed!

    The RAF used to do this every time there was a funding review, threatening that sacred cows like the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight or the Red Arrows would have to be sacrificed to cover the savage cuts being imposed upon them: until ‘Spreadsheet’ Phil Hammond (who for all his other faults, was actually a pretty good SoS for Defence) faced them down and dared them to do it, allegedly with a list of some not-too-flattering expenditure in sight ready to be leaked as the “this is what the RAF think is more important” headlines.

    But it’s the age-old gambit of cut the stuff that’ll cause most fuss (and which also may involve real, customer-facing work to deliver) while loudly blaming “the Tories” for everything.

  11. Mr M, I, too, am fond of libraries – even the publicly-funded ones (provided they don’t stock too many videos (usually Bollywood), or host too many coffee mornings for the locals, usually drunks of Lib Dems, with too much time on their hands).

    But they remain a 1730s-ish solution to a 1730s-ish problem. The collapse of the net book agreement, the rise of charity shops where you can often find quite decent editions for tuppence, Wordsworth editions at 99p, endless free stuff on kindle* … so public libraries have tried to reinvent themselves but, just as fast as they’ve done it, something else has come along to rub their noses in their obsolescence.

    And don’t get me started on the British Library. I’m all in favour of seeing the preservation of its marvellous collection of illuminated manuscripts and, sure, like Mr Gent, I don’t want to see another Alexendria library experience. But, as I understand it, the BL’s stock is held in a storage facility in Boston, Lincs. And it gets trained down via St Pancras twice a day on demand.

    Apparently that felt like a good idea at the dawn of the interwebs.

    * On kindle I acquired the entirety of Walter Scott’s output for, quite literally, no pence. And plenty more besides. Pretty much a wall’s worth of reading, enough to keep me occupied for 20 years at least.

  12. Plus, actually, most local libraries don’t contain the world’s store of knowledge. They’re crammed to the rafters with Barbara Taylor Bradford. Or, at least, her books. Baron Corvo and Isaac Disraeli don’t get a look in.

    At school, in the 80s, I used the local library to find books for class projects. Remember doing one on the Etruscans.

    Well, it’s perhaps expecting too much for a home counties library to have a book on the Es. But I worked out how to order one from elsewhere, was very proud of myself. And two weeks later it arrived.

    Excellent. Two bloomin’ weeks later.

    Now, when my daughter’s class project requires her to know about the N’Bongo people of Outer Tasmandhu, I call it up toot sweet on the interwebs.

    What she loses in pro-activity she gains in time.

    Plus, for anyone who’s still awake*, what about private libraries? My home isn’t Sissinghurst or Kenwood, but my hard copies probably run to 1,500 volumes and my kindle tomes ditto. Nowadays, there’s a great many of us in possession of domestic librae (Mr B, I dare you …) that would have humbled the Marquis of Carabas 200 years ago.

    * Short version: public libraries are an obscene waste of public money. But perhaps I’m just bitter because, aged 12, I was advised by a primitive computer program to become a librarian.

  13. I have a library, it is a spare bedroom lined with bookshelves. I don’t know how many books are in there but it is a lot. There is a very eclectic range of subject matter too. To me a bookshop is better than a public library any day.

  14. “But, as I understand it, the BL’s stock is held in a storage facility in Boston, Lincs.”

    Not quite. It’s in Thorpe Arch Trading Estate, Boston Spa, Wetherby, West Yorkshire.

  15. “But, as I understand it, the BL’s stock is held in a storage facility in Boston, Lincs.”

    Not quite. M’Lud. It’s at Thorpe Arch Trading Estate, Boston Spa, Wetherby, West Yorkshire.

  16. Lud,

    “Plus, actually, most local libraries don’t contain the world’s store of knowledge. They’re crammed to the rafters with Barbara Taylor Bradford. Or, at least, her books. Baron Corvo and Isaac Disraeli don’t get a look in.”

    Yeah. Total bollocks that. You want to know real, useful knowledge, use the internet. You can read Dive into Python or Newton’s Pricipia for free.

    There was an outrage over library closures in Swindon. “TWO THIRDS OF LIBRARIES CLOSING” and then I found out what that meant. There were FIFTEEN of them and there’s now 5. And if you go in any of those, they’re often quiet.

    The one in Birmingham was a real waste of public money. Some fancy pants architect. They could have spent the same on Kindles for every child in the city. Twice.

  17. Outside the Fforde Fiesta, can anyone read in Swindon? I thought it was full of pagans and wife-swappers. But I repeat myself.

  18. I’m in my local library most weeks, it’s a repository of local knowledge, and I’m one of the few people transcribing it so that it is available to more than people who can physically visit the building.
    Plus, 60 minutes’ free access to Ancestry and Find My Past.
    But this is a county library, the next nearest one is 20 miles away, it doesn’t compare to the Wolverhampton example.

  19. One wonders why Labour Councils “were forced to close libraries” when Conservative councils were not? Hertfordshire managed the cuts without closing a single library – in many (probably most) cases opening hours were reduced but none of the was actually closed. Could it possibly be that Hertfordshire was not motivated to invent reasons to condemn the eeevil Tories?

  20. @ Stonyground
    I commented o a friend that there was a bookshelf in every room in our house except the bathroom so my wife put books on a shelf (not immediately adjacent to the bath) in there.

  21. Re: libraries. Librarianism is one of them niches that went full social justice retard years ago. It’s no longer run by the eccentric-but-harmless spinsters you may remember from your youth, it’s now the usual creepy-crawly mob of septum-pierced shebeasts, spiteful minorities, and noncey-looking male feminists.

    Here’s the burning issues that matter to members of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals:

    Diversity and inclusion: it’s up to all of us
    The UK, like much of the Western-centric world, has been historically framed by a white, middle-class male perspective. That historical framing is still very much in evidence today in power structures that are predominantly centred around that model.

    Feed em to the pigs, Ecksy.

  22. When I first arrived in Birmingham, one of the notable landmarks was a stupendously hideous concrete monstrosity that housed the library. Naturally they called it Paradise Forum. The only upside was that they had a couple of decent pubs next to it.
    When it came time for Birmingham City Council to piss more money up the wall, they decided to demolish it and build a new one 200 yards down the way.
    £300,000,000 later, after it had been built, some bright spark noticed that you actually need money to run it. Which is why they suddenly had to lay off half the staff.

  23. I know Wolverhampton quite well, wife and I have visited friends there many times and both studied at university there.

    Indeed it had too many Libraries.

    What it didn’t have was decent spending of council money. They had to cut their budget considerably a few years back – lots of ‘feel good’ projects and lots of money chucked at people willing to report the poor were helped.
    Actual help, a lot rarer.

  24. Sheesh. If I had followed the advice of the primitive computer program, by now I’d be…

    Free to be me!

    Stop laughing, oppressors.

  25. “Outside the Fforde Fiesta, can anyone read in Swindon?”

    Well, the Litratecs, obviously. And I never get much time, what with my work in the ChronoGuard.

    But the town is mostly obsessed with the croquet.

    Go Mallets!

  26. Best line i’ve heard from, IIRC, Alexei Sayle :
    “Anyone who uses the term ‘Workshop’ outside of the context of a light engineering facility is a wanker”

  27. “Best line i’ve heard from, IIRC, Alexei Sayle :
    “Anyone who uses the term ‘Workshop’ outside of the context of a light engineering facility is a wanker””

    Kingsley Amis, in the seventies IIRC: “The word ‘workshop’ summarises everything that has gone wrong with Britain since the war.” Crusty old bugger but never far from the truth.

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