The new localism

Eric Pickles, the Local Government secretary, is examining plans to reward councils which axe unpopular fortnightly collections.

Yes, we all know why fortnightly, to encourage recycling as a result of EU rules.

But any localism worthy of the name would simply say, here\’s the task, (rubbish collection) now get on with it best you can lad. Screw up and the locals will vote the local council out. Nowt to do wi\’ me in Whitehall.

That this isn\’t what is being said shows how shallow this new localism is.

3 comments on “The new localism

  1. It’s not “as a result of EU rules,” Tim. In Brussels, garbage is taken twice a week, recycled paper and plastic once a week, and garden waste every Sunday.

    It’s the way the brits choose to implement things – Tain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it.

  2. Ambrose – I suppose what Tim is referring to is that the EU has imposed quotas of “landfill” waste on member nations. That this quota is almost certainly nonsense and probably some figure conjured up out of the air by a Eurocrat after a nice lunch of moules mariniere washed down with a bottle or three of Biere de Nun’s Kniqueurs is beside the point.
    What is to the point is:
    (a) what is the UK quota for “landfill” waste, what are the penalties for exceeding it (and are there any benefits for actually coming under it)? And are these targets different for each member state – and if so why?
    (b) how does the UK Govt then implement these quotas/fines to local councils – and are each council’s targets different, and if so, why? (Basically, that’s your point, Ambrose.)
    (c) if (a) and (b) are so hideously difficult to work out, requiring a huge bureaucracy in Brussels to calculate, and a huge bureaucracy in the UK to implement, why don’t we just get shot of the EU and … well, you fill in the rest. I’m off for a bottle of Biere de Nun’s Kniqueurs.

  3. morpork: first, cheers. Actually these rules tend to take 10 years to negotiate with lots of earnest conferences and discussions and the brits only waking up 9 years in that the rule is coming, and might be a bugger to implement, after which, having failed to influence the debate much, Britain enacts the rule first of all the members, usually bunging in some extra goldplating on the basis that if we’re going to do the job we ought to do it properly.

    Then when it gets applied, and in the UK it actually gets applied, not ignored, some purely English nit decides the right way to encourage recycling is to make it harder to do, put limits on bins, spread out collections, etc. This is what should be driving Tim nuts: the rules mandate means, not ends, which is almost always wrong. They create a couple of costs, for recycled and unrecycled trash. But no-one knows what those costs are, and the people paying them are not the people (well, they are in the end, through taxes,but they have no idea) creating the rubbish. People should see the cost and pay it through local tax or a rubbish collection charge, being empowered, because they have the knowledge, to minimize the cost by changing behavior and recycling, making shops reduce packaging, etc, etc.

    It’s hard to remember what the Uk was like before it joined the EU, and it’s science fiction to imagine what it might be like if it left now, but I suspect that the basic pattern of doing not enough and then way too much is deeply engrained, and as likely to be worse without Brussels than with.

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