Fifth Column – Edicts And Diktats – Issue 10

An official envelope arrives through the letter box. Thanks Royal Mail, no really, don’t believe the ‘good Lord’. Is it a missive asking our opinion on the latest critical political issue: Europe, War(s), The opening of a new centre that actually meets someone’s real needs in the community? No, it’s a new accusation that effectively criminalises you for something the local council have decided is more cost-effective.

To be summoned to pay a fine because you were being accused of putting your refuse out, not in the proscribed manner, is somewhat galling, given the more significant issues currently occupying the tiny minds of our so-called political representatives. As it turns out, this accusation was wholly unfounded but it is the nature of the impulse by a local council that is sickening on more than one level. Through consistent penny-pinching at our – the local tax payers – expense, the public service of local councils has now become  underhand and authoritarian in the approach to what should be a public service above all; they are not in business and should not be looking to create an adversarial environment in which their corporate-type edicts become sacrosanct laws that cannot be properly questioned by its victims.

This is truly Kafkaesque in its conception. The council creates and fine tunes conditions in and through which the populace it claims to serve is made into commercially identified criminals and antisocial in the act of merely trying to comply with more and more niggardly service provision. The so-called ‘green’ project of recycling has seen councils providing less and less of an on the ground service for people; what with fortnightly collections and the ever decreasing size of the bins. What exacerbates the situation is the presence of snoopers whose remit it is to catch people trying to cope with the worsening provision conditions that make it harder and harder to comply. It is as if the council(s) have thought of what should be responsive provision for its constituents as a means of getting money from them as more and more people are compelled by the inadequate conditions that prevail, to unwillingly become transgressors and consequently criminalised by a once publicly minded agency that is running itself like a cost-cutting business.

The latest move is to deem the desperate act of putting black bin sacks next to the ever decreasing communal bin, as fly-tipping. Logically, if these sinister 1984-type ‘neighbourhood’ schemes continue as they are going, then the councils will eventually provide a communal pedal-bin and charge us for (fulfilling what is effectively their responsibility and duty in service provision to keep a tidy neighbourhood) the excess.

I believe part of the argument for such authoritarian and misguided diktats that leave us with shrinking provisions in being reasonable parts of the community, is to control the amount of waste produced and thereby save the planet.  How does criminalising folk and reducing their options to do the right thing help the planet? Also, such diktats and edicts conceived remotely from its populace stink of political systems that should be anathemas to this so-called democratic and ‘free’ society.

So, next time you’ve missed the collection and want to rid yourself of an official envelope, don’t put it on the street, open it, you never know, it might be something to do with a referendum.

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