What Local Services?

The Professor talks rubbish

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.

7 thoughts on “What Local Services?

  1. If local services are rubbish (excuse the pun) we should be expressing our concerns to our local TDs. Time to bring them back to earth and get them focussing on local issues.

  2. Perish the thought! No, I mean as locally elected representatives they should use their ‘position’ to address shortfalls in locally provided services on our behalf. Short of true reform it’s a compromise.

  3. The real problem with this situation is that it actively encourages constant fly-tipping. Unlike yourself I produce precious little by way of waste and yet am able to fill a bin weekly with the rubbish left on my street by people who have found their own personal solution to this conundrum.

  4. Local services is it? Take that blue and white shite in Glesca out with the rubbish the noo… Celtic 3 Rankers 0. wahooooooooooooooo.

    Apologies Bock, emotions are running high over the water as I type.

  5. I pay over a grand in car tax – why should I pay an additional sum for “local services”? Wasn’t car tax set up to fund local government in recent years, until Gormley the bollix decided to incentivise imported new cars by dropping the tax on them, and in so doing torpedoed local government finances. If I call the fire brigade, they charge me. If I make a planning application or even an objection, they charge me. I pay a contractor for my refuse collection. If I take a carful of stuff to the recycling centre, they charge me. If I use a tunnel, they charge me. If I park on the side of the road, they charge me. For fuck sake, why should I pay any more for local services?

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