The Plastic Hippo

October 2, 2011

Where`s the bin?

Filed under: Birmingham,Environment,Politics,Society,Transport — theplastichippo @ 2:44 am

First it was Birmingham and then it was Liverpool who had the honour of hosting an annual party political conference. Now Manchester has to endure the hot air, tub-thumping, back-slapping, back-stabbing farce. Surely these cities have suffered enough.

In Birmingham, the Diet Tory leadership of the Liberal Democrats ignored the party membership and told each other how wonderfully they are doing in government. So well, in fact, that yet another “ring of steel” had to be placed around the ICC to protect a very small group of parliamentarians from the very people they claimed to represent. The cost of the police operation was eye watering. The party grandees partying on the top floor of the Hyatt fully support cutting police budgets and workforce yet next year will no doubt expect the same level of protection from the attention of the public. For the public of the West Midlands, however, who paid for the police operation, times are hard, kids, you’re on your own.

In Liverpool, the Labour Party decided to all but remove any reference to people with disabilities out of the conference agenda when discussing welfare reform. Ed Miliband delivered a “risky” speech that managed to annoy just about everyone on the planet and the response the poor sap gave about being “weird” made him seem, well frankly, weird. His advisers should really tell him to blow his nose before he speaks and make some attempt to remember people’s names.

Ed certainly caught a cold when challenged in a Q and A session by the inspirational Kaliya Franklin, also known as @BendyGirl on Twitter. Ed, in an attempt to defend his suggestion that people who are ill and even suffer a disability are “scroungers”, managed to come across as both weird and shallow. No mean feat for an adenoidal light-weight. And Ed, her name is Kaliya, not Harriet. For an insight into the day-to-day reality of living with disability under the coalition and the betrayal of those who should and are able to stand up against discrimination, Kaliya`s Broken of Britain blog is essential reading.

So now the three ring circus has moved on to Manchester and even before the first champagne corked has popped at the Midland Hotel, the Conservatives are celebrating a hugely successful conference. Two carefully placed “announcements” prior to conference ensure standing ovations from the party faithful and acres of front page attention.

Secretary of State for Transport, Philip Hammond, not to be confused with Dr Phil Hammond who actually does make a living as a comedian, announced a proposal to raise the motorway speed limit to 80mph. Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, not to be confused with another Yorkshire comedian by the name of Wilfred Pickles, announced the miraculous discovery of £250million to empty bins. The good people of Bradford still shudder at the thought of Eric and Wilf.

Now there will be some that might suggest that these proposals are a cynical attempt at placating white van drivers, travelling salesman, curtain twitching Daily Mail readers and Neighbourhood Watch busy bodies and a strategy to ensure the votes of “middle england” that Ed Miliband so covets. This might be so but the Conservatives are smarter than that. By announcing these non-policies prior to conference, the Tories have managed to deflect scrutiny of more serious issues that face the nation and threaten the very viability of society, broken, big or not, and also allow for vanity ovations to grotesques like Hammond and Pickles. More importantly, critics of this hopeless coalition have been duped into turning their fire onto these stupid ideas and are not concentrating on the important threats. The parlous state of the economy under the tutelage of the hapless Osborne, the destruction of education under the idiot Gove, Iain Duncan Smith threatening to withdraw benefits from the terminally ill and Andrew Lansley`s murder of the NHS have been on the back burner for the last few days. Clever, huh?

The arguments against an increased speed limit and weekly bin collections have been well documented and are fairly damning. Hammond, not to be confused with the equally annoying little one with brain damage from Top Gear, claims that most people flaunt the speed limit anyway and so the law should be changed. Using that weird logic, if the coalition is correct in suggesting that most benefit claims are fraudulent in direct contraction to all the evidence, then the law should be changed in favour of claimants and the most vulnerable in our society should not be left to die. With the likes of Cameron, Osborne, Gove and Lansley tailgating their Audi, Merc and BMW nonsense at 100mph in the outside lane with the rest of us stuck behind two lanes of trucks doing 56, it will take more than a mothballed air ambulance to sort out the inevitable mess.

Pickles, not to be confused with the stuff that accompanies pork pies, wants local authorities to be more accountable to their council tax payers and have more independence from central government. He then forces town halls to spend money on emptying bins rather than social care. Nice one Eric, keep taking the tablets.

There is a probably apocryphal story of a newly qualified teacher from the home counties taking up her first teaching job in a village primary school in Yorkshire. At the end of her first day, she sweeps the classroom after a successful craft lesson. The Head Master, a local of literally the old school, enters the classroom to see how she got on. With a dust pan full of litter, the NQT says:
“Where’s the bin?”.

The Head Master, with a face suddenly turned purple, replies:
“Ah`ve bin in`t bloody office. Yerl get nowt round ere lass wi that kind a attitude.”

Perhaps it’s time we showed Eric and his chums exactly where the bin is.

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