The good old days were not that good and we didn’t live to be that old. Most of them were, like MiniMe, nasty brutish and short
We did all sorts of things that were bad – we went on crusades, we burned witches, we elected Brian Cowen. And we did some things that were probably in retrospect bad but were at least pleasant – we drank ether, ate to extinction rare and endangered species and had a weekly rubbish collection
For some reason, probably because in between worrying about badgers and bailing out Anglo Irish bank, a green party TD thought it was a good idea, we stopped the weekly bin lift. Now we have fortnightly rubbish, recyclable, glass, paper and other bins of various sizes shapes and hues and households have been turned into the recycling equivalents of the backyard iron smelters of the Cultural Revolution.
There’s a wonderful concept in economics called the polluter pays principle. The more you pollute the more you pay. We used it well in the plastic bag levy, where we have a choice to use a recycled bag or box (marginal cost zero) or get a new one (cost 22c). It works. If applied rigorously it would, for instance, mean that the burden of bailing out the banks falls only on the 45% of people who voted in FF/GP in 2007.
As a polluter (Mrs Prof and I seem to generate the rubbish of a small industrial town in Silesia) I am happy to pay. But I don’t have a choice, other than to load the bird pecked bags into the back of a car and trot off to the dump. I’d pay for someone to come collect each week. I’d pay by weight. If I had a choice. I don’t want a composter, or a wormery (although theyd be nice). I want and will pay for a weekly rubbish collection.
By abolishing council weekly bin collections that choice was taken away from me. A household charge and a forthcoming property tax are fine, but if they are to fund local services then we might reasonably ask, what local services? The council no longer seems to collect bins, cut grass, repair roads, etc. Linking local funding to local services will lead to massive enragement when we realize we don’t actually get many local services. Not even bins collected.