Fragile do not crush

A couple of weeks ago I received a parcel that had this tape on it. There was a book inside. I don't remember ever seeing the words 'Fragile do not crush' protecting a book before, only 'Fragile do not bend'. It made me wonder if you could crush a book. As a physical object I've always thought of books as being quite resilient, although they can, of course, be burnt. Or the ideas within them can be crushed through various other forms of censorship — one of which is restriction of access. So it makes sense that if the government of a country is going to slash council budgets forcing reduced access to books (and to the internet for those without computers) we should be seriously worried about their motives.

When I was little I had a recurring nightmare in which some tiny fairies would be playing happily and then a giant (I only ever saw his boots) would come along and stamp on them all. I'm not going to say that those of us who oppose the ConDems are tiny fairies but it does feel a lot like a large right boot is trying to crush us, and the form of society we value, into oblivion.

On this national day of action I'd like to put the 'Fragile do not crush' tape around our libraries. Whilst I'm at it, I'd like to put it around our children's centres, universities, hospitals, care homes, arts and cultural organisations and forests and so much else that is under threat. And I'd like to put the tape around all the people who need and use and work for these services. People already hurt by a recession caused by profligate bankers and contemptible politicians, people who are now paying for those bankers and politicians' mistakes a second time through the devastation of services that are a vital part of their lives.

I want to put the tape around my children's future.

Because, the thing is, people are fragile, and their hopes and dreams — their minds — can be too easily crushed.