Tuesday 3 July 2012

Labour's Denis MacShane backs Kensal Rise campaigners

From yesterday's Evening Standard LINK
Emboldened by the success of the campaign to save Gaby’s Deli in Charing Cross Road, Labour MP Denis MacShane has a new cause, the Kensal Rise Library. MacShane wrote some blistering letters about Gaby’s to its landlord, the Marquess of Salisbury, saying it was the only place he could buy a decent salt beef sandwich.

Now he has chosen a similar tactic by writing to Sir John Vickers, currently in the news as chairman of the Independent Commission on Banking. Sir John is also Warden of All Souls College, Oxford, which gifted the building to the north London community 100 years ago when it was opened by the great American writer Mark Twain.

The library has many champions, notably Alan Bennett, Zadie Smith and Tim Lott, but somehow MacShane is the one who goes for the goolies. “I write on behalf of one of my oldest friends, Maggie Gee, the novelist,” writes the former Minister for Europe, showing her how to write a letter combining praise with threat. “She was at Somerville and myself at Merton in those far-off days and have been friends ever since. The college is a community of scholars, of readers, of page turners and this historic connection to a community of readers in a poor part of north London should not be terminated just because the finance people say so.

“I hope All Souls can work with Friends of Kensal Rise Library and keep it alive. I will copy this to one or two colleagues and friends who are Fellows.” That should do the trick. 
Meanwhile Preston Library campaigners met with Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council yesterday.  After the meeting they released the following statement:
This afternoon campaigners from Friends of Preston Library met Muhammed Butt, the new leader of Brent Council, at his request. In what was a very friendly meeting, we spent an hour or so discussing the future of Preston Library and agreed to meet again in the very near future to continue the discussion.

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