Saturday, 14 August 2010

Tall Ships 2015 or Libraries 2011?

The Tall Ships have sailed away the Mayor and Cabinet are desperate to get them back again. This is nothing to do with putting Hartlepool on the map, generating millions of pounds (mostly for traders who came into town for the 4 days and then left, taking the money with them) or for the undoubted good time the majority of those attending enjoyed.

The real reason, in my opinion, is there are only so many pictures of the Mayor pushing a brush and “clean sweep” stories that even the Hartlepool Mail will print. This means the Mayor needs something to talk about for the next few years. A big party like Tall Ships also provides a perfect distraction to keep resident’s attention away from the sad state of the town’s finances!

Given the choice of Tall Ships again in 2015 or branch libraries around the town, what would be the decision?

Northgate Branch Library on the Headland for 5 years or the Tall Ships for 4 days?

Just the salary alone of the Council's latest employee, the Tall Ships Manager (now a permanent employee of the council not just on a fixed term contract till the race was over) would keep the library open. This is the point the cheerleaders for Tall Ships are missing. No-one has said it wasn't a great event and very enjoyable, however it wasn't Free despite what the publicity claimed. It was free to attend but it cost Hartlepool Council £millions to host! When they talk about another few £million for Tall Ships in 2015 what about Libraries, public sector jobs or other council services under threat in 2011?

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