The Council stands accused on the front page of the Kensington and Chelsea News of engaging in a ‘class war’ over its decision to lease the old North Kensington Library building to a prep school while building a brand new, larger library 50 yards away. The accusation is thrown down by a councillor, but not just any old councillor, oh no, it’s the view of a ‘leading councillor’. Continue reading
The proper answer to recent claims of asset stripping is show me the teapot.
Asset stripping is a less serious charge than social cleansing I suppose and for that at least I am grateful. But it’s irritating nonetheless that yet again an ugly charge has been levelled against the Council that has no basis in reality whatsoever.
Call me old-fashioned but I think serious claims ought to be backed up by serious evidence. Cleverer men than I have made the same point, and far more elegantly. Carl Sagan said that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”. Christopher Hitchens offered us Hitchen’s Razor: what is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. But my personal favourite is Russell’s teapot. Bertrand Russell pointed out that it is really up to the person who says there is a celestial teapot orbiting the Sun to prove it, not for me to disprove it.
Now I know these big-brained chaps were making a larger point, but their logic is just as sound on the somewhat smaller stage of Kensington and Chelsea. If you are going to protest outside North Kensington Library saying that the Council is “closing the library”; that it is leasing the building to its friends “on the cheap” and “asset stripping the community of all its public spaces” then there ought to be some sort of evidential test to pass before your claims are taken seriously. Let’s apply that test now, taking the largest claim first. Continue reading