Letters: Have they any real knowledge about what librarians do? It would appear not

I was fascinated to read Mark Burnwood’s article in the telegraph. Clearly a supporter of M.Vaughan. Two people who are not going to allow mere facts to sway their opinions. I have to wonder what they mean by “professional” librarians. Do they mean chartered librarians?  

Two weeks ago, Councillor Olivia Blake wrote “We have listened and it’s great to announce that the vast majority of war memorial trees in the city can now be retained … As we are approaching Remembrance Sunday in the year of the 100th anniversary of the First World War’s armistice, it is important that we ensure that our city can continue to honour the memory of the millions of people who lost their lives in war for the next 100 years and beyond.”

I’m so pleased and relieved that Sheffield City Council have decided to retain 20 of the 23 Western Road trees marked for felling but could they please keep this news to straightforward announcements and spare us the hypocrisy.

In less than a year, Olivia Blake has miraculously changed from a cabinet member who voted to chainsaw 41 memorial trees to someone who is now encouraging us all to acknowledge the importance of honouring the war dead. Councillor Ben Curran’s upbeat “Huh? Of course we welcome the news the trees can be retained” tweet from two days ago” contrasts starkly with his vote also to desecrate the memorial trees last December.

If Olivia Blake and Ben Curran have had some epiphany about this issue, apologies would have been appropriate and appreciated. But, there are no apologies because this U-turn isn’t due to any Damascene moment of moral clarity. The reason the Western Road trees were reprieved was because Sheffield City Council finally realised they couldn’t bring them down. Felling crews simply wouldn’t be able to set up due to sheer numbers of protesters. South Yorkshire Police would probably refuse to provide the officers required. The council’s previous attempts to imprison peaceful protesters have failed and the media would be swarming all over it.

Martin Pickles

537 Crookesmoor Road

Sheffield S10 1BJ