Downgrading a Learning Nation

National Library downgrade undermines the idea of a learning nation

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WELSH Labour’s systemic disregard for the interests of rural Wales has been shown up again over concerns for the future of the National Library of Wales.

After been chronically underfunded by the Welsh Government – its main funder for a number of years – the Library at Aberystwyth is now undergoing a restructuring exercise which will see 30 more jobs axed, and a further reading room closed.

The former Chief Librarian, Andrew Green has warned that further cuts of this nature would seriously undermine the National Library’s level of service to the public.

A petition launched to call for ‘fair funding for the National Library’ has now reached 10,000 signatures and will thus be discussed at the Senedd.

The petition says: ‘Freedom, Prosperity and development of society and individuals are foundational human values, attained by well-informed citizens with unlimited access to thought, culture and information’.

Gwlad leader Gwyn Wigley Evans said those sentiments could have been lifted directly from the party’s manifesto.

‘We put a lot of emphasis on individual freedom and developing well-informed citizens, and it’s criminal to see Welsh Labour being so blasé about these elements, allowing the National Library to be run into the ground in such a way.’

‘Surely the emphasis should be on developing and expanding this cultural treasure, not treating it as a piece of not-fit-for-purpose old furniture’!

Mr. Evans added he was also very disappointed that Plaid Cymru were not much more vocal in their opposition to the downgrading of the National Library.

‘They should be screaming from the rooftops about this – but then, they are so closely aligned with Labour in so many ways now, they have got to be very careful in what they say about them.’

‘What kind of opposition is that?! ‘

One of Welsh Labour’ s big ideas in recent years has been to promote the idea of Wales as a learning nation.

It’s hard to square that with their lack of real investment in Wales’s main symbol of national learning at Aberystwyth.

And their willingness to see the institution be further weakened by the latest round of cuts.

Some have seen this as the Unionist side of Welsh Labour not wanting to pander to what they consider a traditional ‘nationalist icon’.

But perhaps there’s a simpler explanation: that Welsh Labour are by now so Cardiff-centric, that the rest of Wales is of no real concern to them.

[You can sign the petition yourself by following this link.]

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