Editorial: Golden Times and Leaden Prospects
This is the last Newsletter of 2010, our 50th anniversary year. I'm sure many members will have enjoyed some of our special events. Talks by distinguished speakers, Jonathan Glancey, Jay Merrick, Neil Clayton at Woolverstone and Ken Powell at Isaacs should have given us much to think about and made us appreciate even more the role of a civic amenity society.
Some might complain that the celebrations haven't involved red noses and party games. And neither will our end-of-year dinner! But the dinner should be an opportunity for simply enjoying ourselves in good company. I hope that many of you will be there to round off the year happily.
Then into 2011. If the Chancellor.s .cuts. are only half as bad as feared, it will still be a difficult and uncertain future. Public services will be adversely affected and the voluntary sector will find it hard to compensate. The Ipswich Society is likely to include quite a number of public spirited individuals who will make their contributions to society at large. But for volunteers there are obvious limits of time, availability, health and above all continuity. Ipswich Film Theatre, for example, is being run by a magnificent body of volunteers - work which is acknowledged elsewhere in this Newsletter- but that combination of talents and enthusiasm doesn't grow on trees. And less glamorous public services might never attract enough volunteers.
The future is worrying because even when the economy shows signs of real recovery, re-creating public services would be very much harder than cutting them. To take a local example of a very efficient service, if Ipswich Buses were to be wholly privatised, it is inconceivable that it could ever become publicly owned again. The spirit of the times is against it. Decision makers must be aware that such changes are irreversible.
However, I sincerely hope that Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk County Council (what's left of it) will weather the storm judiciously, making decisions that will respect the built environment and the quality of the services on which our town depends. I trust members will agree with that, even if they don't agree with everything else above!
In the meantime, there is a wide variety of material in this Newsletter which I hope will interest you; this is not a one-track or narrow gauge society. For the next Newsletter, I'd welcome letters, articles, etc which members might like to send me by 20 November.
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