So now they're going to put spying devices in our dustbins.
The government are proposing that local councils should fit dustbins with little machines to weigh our rubbish so that they can charge us for the amount we throw away. This carefully ignores the fact that we are already paying the council, through the iniquitous Council Tax, for providing a refuse service. This proposal is supposed to encourage us to recycle more, and produce less un-recyclable waste. It won't work, of course. It'll just mean more bags of rubbish left by the roadside in the dead of night.
Those in power seem to have developed a knee-jerk reaction to every problem - if a thing's not working properly, make the public pay more.
Roads overcrowded? Don't build more roads, just charge people to drive on them. Too many people killed in car accidents? Don't do anything to make the roads safer, just put up speed cameras and milk the motoring public. Jet airliners producing too much pollution? Don't bother making cleaner aeroplanes, just put the fares up. First-class post not arriving soon enough? Better put the prices up. Too many illegal immigrants? Sorry, can't do much about that - but we can charge everyone more for their passports! Naughty terrorists planning to blow up planes? Stick a bit on the price of every airline ticket to pay for the extra security. Don't know how many asylum-seekers have slipped through the net? Introduce ID cards and make us all pay through the nose for them. Can't manage to run an efficient health service? That's OK, just make it so bloody awful that all those that can possibly afford it will have to go private.
It will, of course, not occur to anyone to encourage recycling by inventing a system that actually works. That would be too simple, wouldn't it? In GOS-land the local council give us all wheelie-bins for recyclable waste, but won't let us put anything in them. They tell us we should shred our documents to prevent identity fraud, but they won't take our shredded paper away for us. They tell us that plastic carrier bags are clogging up the countryside and killing marine life, but they won't take those either. The world is full of awful polystyrene packing-material but - you've guessed - the council can't deal with it. Textiles have been recycled for donkey's years (what do you think the old rag-and-bone man with his horse and cart did with all those old clothes?) but not by our council, apparently.
Sadly, it's our own fault. We have allowed politicians, civil servants and local government officers to slowly develop a mind-set in which they have the job of telling us all what to do, and thinking of ways to make us do it if we seem reluctant. They justify this authoritarian attitude by saying that they have the right to do this because it's they who will bear the responsibility if anything goes wrong. The argument might be a little more convincing if one could remember a few more occasions when a politician, civil servant or local government officer lost his job because he messed up, but, as we all know very well, these people look after their own and rarely have to bear the consequences of their own failures. It's us that have to do that.
What we have lost is the old concept of public service - the idea that these people are put in place to carry out the will of the people, not to tell them what to do. It's ironic, isn't it? - in this brave new autocracy, civil servants are our masters.
It's not surprising, then, to learn that more than 3,000 new criminal offences have been created since Tony Blair came to power in 1997, at a rate of almost one a day. It is now illegal to enter the hull of the Titanic (damn, that's put paid to next weekend, then! - GOS), to cause a nuclear explosion (ditto - GOS), to sell a grey squirrel, to impersonate a traffic warden (er … who'd want to? - GOS), to fail to nominate a neighbour to turn off a noisy burglar alarm or import potatoes from Poland. It's perfectly OK to import the Poles themselves, you understand. Jolly fine people, the Poles. It's just their potatoes we object to.
The Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said: "This Government's obsession with spin and bluster over real delivery is typified by the amount of new legislation and initiatives they constantly produce, now we see they actually have set themselves a target for delivering headline grabbing initiatives. It's unbelievable. Often the problem is not lack of an appropriate power or law but the lack of Government will to enforce it."
Yes … well … that's what I just said, more or less.
But I repeat, it's our own fault. We let them do it. And we could stop them if we were determined enough. All it would take would be three or four thousand people to walk into the local council offices and say "We don't want your f*cking wheelie-bins, so p*ss off!" Might is right, you know.
either on this site or on the World Wide Web.
This site created and maintained by PlainSite