Friday, January 09, 2009


Norm turns to the most vexed political question of all. Rubbish collection.

Doorstep rubbish collections are being scrapped with families being required instead to use huge communal bins in a scheme that might be introduced across the country.

Brighton & Hove City Council will begin installing 3,200-litre communal bins in 500 streets next week – one for every 40 homes. For some residents the bins will be 150 yards away.
In Greece, communal collection is the norm (sorry). I am used to trotting down the lane with my σκουπίδια. It all works pretty well and the bins are cleared on a regular basis. Contrast this to the situation in Salford where a one-person household in a terraced house, with only a small back yard, has to cram three large wheelie bins for recycling into a tiny space, sometimes meaning that it is a struggle to get out of the back door. And if you don't and leave the bins out - a £100 fine or more awaits you under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Whilst Norm ponders the practicalities, he should also think of the principles. I am certain Madeleine Bunting will. You can just imagine it, can't you. 'This is an example of the triumph of community over the atomised lifestyles of the individual suffering in the hell of a modern consumer society. The merging of our rubbish is a way in which we can come together in mutual respect and understanding. By collectively disposing of our waste we symbolically cleanse our troubles and unite with all humanity in harmony with nature as we recycle together as one'. Henry Porter, too, will see it as a way fending off the surveillance that will inevitably lead us into a police state. 'Collective solidarity against the tentacles of the state and the defence of our ancient liberties begin with the bins'.

Just as ancient Greece invented democracy, so modern Greece shows us the way again. As long as we can still flush our loo roll down the bog that is.

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