On Monday, the BBC National News Home Affairs Editor, Mark Easton, and his team visited Gloucestershire to talk to FoGL members about the cuts to the library service, as well as cuts to other public services and our reasons for attending the big march in London this Saturday (many of us are first-time marchers or haven’t marched for years!).
Julie Baker, who attended the interview, has written us this account;
Monday 21 March 2011
Today saw the coming together of a group of about a dozen women; all well informed, articulate and all very concerned about Gloucestershire County Council’s proposals to decimate the county library service in particular, but also about the broad range of cuts being proposed locally and nationally; cuts to youth services, day centres and other services for the elderly and people with learning difficulties, cuts in public transport provision, and unprecedented changes to the NHS. None of this was mandated by the general election vote, because none of it was in the manifestos of the coalition government.
We are in deep shock at what’s happening but we are certainly not speechless! We represented a wide range of different backgrounds and several generations, but we were united in our outrage at what is happening; not just for ourselves, although we are all affected by the loss of these services, and the unquantifiable loss of community that goes with them, but also for those more vulnerable and disadvantaged than us. I think we left the BBC team in no doubt about our feelings!
They will have a lot of editing to do, but I hope the news item they put out will accurately convey our dismay and our anger.
For the sake of balance, the BBC team also approached GCC Council Leader Mark Hawthorne for an interview, but he declined to comment, so they interviewed Stroud Conservative MP Neil Carmichael instead who told them that cut services would be run by the ‘Big Society’.
We’ve been informed that the piece should go out on Friday 25th March on BBC 1 as part of both the 6pm and 10pm national news programmes. Look out for FoGL on the telly!