Bob McKee and the 'busted flush'

<p>The battle lines used to be quite easy to draw in the library sector, with the firebrand Tim Coates and his supporters championing books and longer opening hours on the one side, and the DCMS, CILIP and the MLA on the other, talking about social inclusiveness and diversity. (I'm sure that pretty much everyone involved would dissent with my over-simplified analysis here, but let's not split hairs).<br />
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But now <a href="http://www.thebookseller.com/news/43524-cilip-lambasts-library-spin-doct... has done a volte face</a> and publicly roasted the folks in charge for pretending everything is rosy when clearly it ain't.</p>
<p>Most library chiefs intone in the language of press releases, but chairman Bob McKee doesn't (ever) mince his words: &quot;This is just spin-doctoring to cover up the reality of budget cuts and job losses. The truth is that without adequate professional expertise the quality of service will be reduced and the future of the service put at risk.&quot;<br />
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He's almost starting to sound like Tim Coates&mdash;the man who McKee infamously dismissed as a &quot;busted flush&quot; (whatever that actually means).<br />
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Meanwhile Coates has to be congratulated on his phenomenal <a href="http://www.thebookseller.com/news/43456-tim-coates-to-save-hillingdon-26... in Hillingdon</a>. Finding a way to balance the books without cutting books, branches or opening hours is no mean feat in itself. To actively extend those things AND come up with more than a quarter of a million pounds in savings is momentous. &pound;260,000 is a small drop in the grand scheme of the service's &pound;1bn annual budget, but it's huge when you think how many rural libraries have closed to save as little as &pound;60,000 a piece.<br />
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The naysayers are going to have a tough time arguing with him now.</p>