A tale of two stories that can’t have a happy ending

IT’S a funny old world sometimes - who would have thought that libraries of all things could bring so many people’s blood to the boil?

As the cuts kick in and the cost of living starts to steepen on its ever-upward curve for thousands of us it’s the little guy that tends to feel it most.

Ordinary joes, the man (and woman) in the street, the salt of the earth. The elderly. The vulnerable.

It is these folk who often rely most on council services.

And it’s surprising that the smoke of battle generated around the library closures has hidden from sight what strikes me as a potentially serious issue.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not doing down the arguments to save our libaries. I agree with the notion that they are an intrinsic part of of our culture and community identity.

And, as politicians around the country are discovering, threaten them at your peril.

But regular readers of the Free Press will also be aware that in the raft of proposed cuts the way the council cares for the elderly is changing.

A warden service is being removed and instead hundreds of old folk will be issued with electronic pendants to call for help if necessary.

I don’t wish to enter into politics or tell the council how to run its business.

But as the local paper’s editor it is my job to stick up for the little guy - and this is a case where the loss if human contact is the issue, rather than the elderly’s health and safety.

It’s where cuts become real - and with respect to the arguments for and against library closures - where they come at an instant human cost.

It’s surprising to me that the sound and fury that has accompanied the libraries debate, from protestors and politicians alike, has not yet been matched in scale by protests about what’s happening to hundreds of our old people.