Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Eric Pickles talks rubbish about rubbish and Winterval

I caught up with the Politics Show the other day and cursed the format that gave we viewers in Scotland Eric Pickles and missed out the interview with Chris Huhne.

I was not impressed with the way Pickles was going on about how Councils needed to collect rubbish weekly as "it's a basic human right that your tikka masala carton isn't festering in a bin for a fortnight".

We can do without Tory ministers spreading such ill-informed bile and not saying one word about how important it is for the environment to encourage re-using and recycling.

We've never had a problem with the fact that our landfill bin is emptied once a fortnight. In fact, because West Lothian has a really fantastic kerbside recycling programme, which means all our tin cans and many of our plastic bottles can go in the blue bin, even after a fortnight, the landfill bin is usually not that full. If a household as disorganised and scatterbrained as ours can do it, anyone can.

Even at the height of Summer, I've not been at all bothered by the fact that waste has to hang around. I mean, it's properly wrapped, in a closed container. We've had this system for several years now, and it works perfectly smoothly.

If people are finding that their grey bins are full after a week then they are probably not recycling enough.

I only put things in the landfill bin if they can't go anywhere else. We simply can't afford to continue putting things to ever decreasing landfill space or burning it in polluting incinerators. If we don't act, our children are going to find themselves in a real pickle (see what I did there).

Ironically, though, he did recycle one thing - this bizarre myth that nasty atheist councils are stopping people celebrating Christmas. As any of the proud parents queueing up to see their children in nativity plays will be able to tell you. You might want to have a read of this essay which is an excellent case study of the history of the Winterval Myth and shows how the tabloids can completely distort the truth for their own, pernicious agendas.

And thanks to the Information Commissioner's recent statement, those proud parents watching their little ones dressed as donkeys and the like will be able to deal confidently with anyone who tries to stop them taking photos of the event. I'm glad that this has been clarified because I came across some real stupidity on that a few years ago - Anna went to a friend's birthday party on local Council premises and the parents were forbidden from taking photographs of their own child's party because they didn't have the consent in writing of all the parents concerned. As Anna was due to have her own party in the same venue a few days later, (and even if she hadn't, I'd have done something to be honest, as I thought it was disgraceful), I complained rather vociferously and this nonsense was stopped.

We can really do without Government ministers reinforcing the ill-informed nonsense of the tabloid press.Where's Evan Harris when you need him?

1 comment:

Adrian Cruden said...

Good piece. The Winterval myth is something I find really galling - it is especially peddled by some of the local press in Dewsbury and the area around us. I've had many discussions with people who have assured me that the council had banned Christmas decorations. On one occasion, this was standing under some streetlights with the decorations on them, but the woman simply ignored my attempts to point them out to her.

There is an element of a post-information age, where evidence is ignored if it does not match feeling. This is one of the most emotive areas, exploited by those who want to create division - nice to see it debunked for once.


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