Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Brighton's War on Error

Brighton and Hove City Council, the people that brought you the "ban" on plastic bags: yes that's right, the "ban" on plastic bags1, nowwww bring you...


In context: My council tax has just gone up by 3.6%, despite the fact that collections have been missed sometimes for well over a month leaving a mountain of rubbish outside my window, and despite the fact that 'the boys' like to play with the new modern extra-thin bags to demonstrate that they split-open easier than a chavette's lady-garden.

On Saturday, The Argus printed an article2, explaining how residents have been threatened with fines from Brighton and Hove City Council if they put their rubbish out on the wrong day.

Council officials have put letters through doors across Brighton and Hove warning residents it is a criminal offence to put their boxes out on non-collection days.

They tell residents they will be fined if they break the rule – or could even be prosecuted and face being fined up to £2,500 by the courts. Residents are angry about the letter and confused by recent changes in recycling days and new rules for sorting waste.

They described the letters, which are headed Contravention of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, as heavy-handed and draconian.

OK, well I don't use the recycling boxes. There is no incentive for me to do so and it's inconvenient, so I'm safe! Next...

Right, seems the Politburo Council weren't happy with that story, so there's another one3 printed on Monday, containing their response.

A fine would only ever be considered as a last resort in instances where refuse or recycling is repeatedly left out on the wrong day never for a single instance.

The council would much rather collect refuse or recycling on the correct day than issue a fine

It's OK folks! They have the same cautious approach to these things as Tony Blair has to actual war. THANK GOD.

But what's this? That article wasn't creepy-bum-lick enough for the Philosopher Kings Council members. Best write another, and this time don't leave any dry patches.4

city council bosses deserve our sympathies not our scorn[...]dirty rubbish [makes] the process more expensive

...that's as much of that sh*te I'm going to repeat for them. You get the picture; it's a LONG, WHINGING article. I urge you to read it (#4 below), it really is utterly despicable...

...So much so, that I dug around looking for the "Industry Council for Packaging and the Environment (INCPEN)" whose director was interviewed... "Industry & Council..." would be more accurate: in fact it is a classic CORPORATIST construct, chaired by Labour Peer Lord Clinton-Davis (voted for ID cards etc); next in the list "Dame Elizabeth Anson (local government)"; honestly I'm not making this up - there's also a guy from Trading Standards on the list AND they are associated with the Fabian Society! (The list of members was in an MS Word document, just to make it a little more difficult to get to.)

My judgement: like other corporatist elements, INCPEN is there to ensure that the public pay for the excesses of both government and industry; it's more-or-less open that its purpose is to argue against regulation on packaging, but the government have to boss somebody around to meet their targets, so clearly that'll be us. As usual... Surprised? No expected it. Angry? Of course.

But what's this?5 Some REBEL at the Argus has allowed a counter-commentary from a member of the public to be published 15 mins later...

Is bin fine an April Fool's Day Joke?

...Sorry, no, they are actually nuts. Bad luck, and your name will be put on a list of malcontents and 'terrorists'.

1: This makes no sense to me either, but apparently they banned plastic bags, despite not having the power to do so. Suggest amendment to traditional axiom: "[Even absolutely no power can corrupt absolute nobodies]".
2: £75 fine for bin out on wrong day.
3: Recycling fine of £75 in Brighton and Hove defended.
4: Brighton and Hove recycling fines a necessary move.
5: Is bin fine an April Fool's Day Joke?.


TBR said...

They're all shits. I'd rather just pay a company myself to collect my refuse.

Then I wouldn't have to go through all this government shit. But of course there is no opt-out.

Anonymous said...

I fear that the same approach is taken everywhere. In Barnet they have compulsory recycling and unless I make an effort to put a few things in the box they send the boys around with threats of a £1000 fine and/or a court appearance. Happy days! At least we have weekly collections and they do come every week.