When the new chair of the BBC, Chris Patten, admitted he was not a fan of TV soap operas it caused a mild ripple. His comments had been somewhat misquoted to suggest he didn’t watch telly at all. In fact he said: “I take slight exception to the argument that I hardly watch television, it is true you don’t find me in front of Eastenders.”
But what to make of Jeremy Hunt admitting today that he hasn’t borrowed a library book for a decade? I was at the culture committee this morning* but slipped out just before Tom Watson asked Hunt when he last borrowed a book from a library. The answer: “Certainly not in the last decade.”
The culture secretary said he had reminded councils that they had to provide a “comprehensive and efficient service” under the law. Despite this 500 libraries are currently under threat, however, as I reported yesterday morning. Campaigners may now wonder if the culture secretary is the right person to defend such services.
* One interesting line to emerge included the fact that 73 civil servants will move from the business department to the culture ministry in a process that begins this weekend. (Media competition is transferring as a result of the Vince Cable “I’ve declared war on Murdoch” gaffe). It will cost £260,000, of which £250,000 relates to an IT contract at DCMS signed on a per desk basis.
UPDATE: Some readers are asking via Twitter whether anyone borrows library books any more. The last one I took out was in August, it was Wuthering Heights, and I didn’t finish it.