Saturday, May 26, 2007

Old Blighty

It's would seem that England's green and pleasant land is neither green nor pleasant, nor for the home owner, their own land.

Clive Aslet, editor-at-large of Country Life gives a bleak view of life in the UK. It's a long piece but worth reading all the way through and wonder if such plans are in the works for Australia.

One might feel differently if one believed officialdom truly had the interests of the planet at heart. But green idealism has become a fig leaf to conceal the bulging organ of revenue increase.

The London congestion charge started off, as the name implies, as a means of unjamming traffic. Like the HIPs, it is changing its spots to become a beast for savaging families, often with young children, who have the temerity to drive seven-seater cars. From 2009 they face a charge of £25.

Outside the zone, the Lib Dem Richmond upon Thames council wants the owners of such vehicles to pay whopping fees for parking outside their own home. It is a convenience that the money raised from motorists goes straight into the council coffers, for councillors to spend as they choose, thereby escaping control-freakish capping by the Treasury.

And so it is with rubbish collection. Don't tell me that councils were principally motivated by reducing greenhouse gas emissions when they halved the rate at which they emptied bins and introduced compulsory recycling schemes. They want to save money and damn the rats.

You have only to look at Southwark. It has retained the weekly bin round precisely because it will help promote sustainability. What? I see your puzzled look and furrowed brow. Weekly collection from the doorstep, as it explains on its website, will allow bin snoops to see more easily who is recycling and who isn't. "If residents are not taking part, a member of the recycling team will visit."

Presumably, there will follow the sort of knock on the door familiar to East German dissidents in the days of the Stasi. More information is being collected through microchips installed in rubbish bins - oh, and they will be fitted with a lock to prevent neighbours using a bin that isn't theirs.
Are these the reasons why England is called Blighty?

-- Nora

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