I haven't had much time for blogging these last few days, but rest assured that I have been frothing at the mouth over the announcement by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles that he's found £250 million to enable Councils in England to restore weekly bin collections.
That's a phrase I really don't like anyway. Every house has a bin emptied every week. That means that the bad bin, the landfill bin, gets emptied once a fortnight. And people complain about it like mad. Let's get it into perspective, though. The worst that can happen from the fortnightly landfill bin collections is that a household is mildly inconvenienced. Nobody dies. Nobody, despite predictions of everything from rats to bubonic plague in the right wing press, gets ill. That inconvenience should in most cases act as a spur for people to think carefully about what they're throwing away.
I am not aware of complaints coming from people who make the effort to sort their recycling. We could do with a bigger recycling bin and we have trouble filling the landfill bin. But do we whinge? No, we take any excess to what my husband insists on referring to as the recycling centre and what most of the rest of us call the tip.
Pickles' announcement panders to the middle classes in the Tory shires but, of course, it doesn't affect Scotland, so what right to I have to complain? Well, of course it does. It's £250 million, a quarter of a billion bleedin' quid, being wasted, giving less money to things like the welfare budget, for example. Frankly, I'd rather ensure that the sick and disabled are properly supported if there's any money to play with. Nobody in this country in this day and age should not have enough food to eat - yet last week Fair Share reported that demand is rising for food from charities because people can't afford to buy it. And a Government we are part of is taking a measure that encourages people to throw food away? I have no words to describe my fury.
I know that the Tories have to have things to announce at their conference but it really annoys me that they go on about reducing the deficit so as not to leave the next generation with debt, yet they're quite happy to compromise the environment for those same people.
I have never felt comfortable during a Tory Party conference but they take on an added, gut wrenching, feeling now we're in Government with them. Yes, we are taking the sting out of them in so many ways, but announcements like this show that as parties we are a zillion miles apart.