Trust ordinary people in the north to have worked this out: library users in St Helens are being given the option of paying any overdue fines with donations to food banks instead of cash. Since each library is now necessarily a collection and forwarding point, it follows that food donations, irrespective of loans and overdues, will come to them. I applaud that.
If this practice becomes widespread, as I hope it does (guess which councils won't touch it?) it means that at last the public library sector is playing a part in confronting the government over its wretched anti-public policies.
We have a government that regards the public library network as superfluous and food banks as unnecessary. It’s time for both of these ideological sugar-puffs to be not just subjected to occasional half-hearted challenge but forcefully confronted.
There’s a savage class war going on in this country. It was started, not by people in poverty or those experiencing exclusion, but by the Haves, on 31 March 2010. We can but hope that this year will see some deft and deep incisions like that proposed by St Helens Council into the repulsive flab (literal and metaphorical) that these people of wealth and power are so fond of flaunting.