Monday, February 04, 2008

Understatement of the Year

Pickles voices concern over possible ‘bin bailiffs’

Claims that councils will be able to employ bailiffs to collect unpaid bills from save-as-you-throw pilots have not been denied by Defra and the Local Government Association (LGA)

The latest 'Nu-speak' is it? 'Does not deny’ means what, exactly? Is that a yes, or a no? Or is it the latest fudge in a whole candy store of sickly treats to see what can be got away with, obfuscated or plausibly denied later. At least it used to be 'Yes, Minister'. Now it's 'That is clearly not acceptable, and does need looking at...maybe' Minister'.

Bearing in mind that politicians of all hues, and from every area that requires a vote to stay in power seek public support, I am amazed that such things get floated at all in this way, and then when they do to such muted responses from the opposition. Are such sources of revenue really so attractive as to blind these people to how this is playing out in the real world?

No wants to see unnecessary waste or litter, and hence the punitive options may well still need to be considered. But not as a first resort. And not in such a blanket manner. And not in the hands of the folk who currently seem to be being given the keys to the baton cupboard.

I the other day watched a YouTube video of an bailiff assaulting an old boy trying to gain access to his home to 'enforce' the BBC license fee. And these are the kind of thoroughly discredited individuals that it is proposed to let loose as agents of a ‘guilty until proven innocent’ culture that is developing today, by increasingly over-staffed, overpaid, yet responsibility and accountability-shy public servants who like to hide behind quangos, consultants and other 3rd parties to try and distance themselves from the possible (!) negative consequences of their decisions and/or actions.

Before addressing all ways to impose and profit from public compliance, I'd suggest a lot more effort goes first into ensuring every possible way had been established to ensure they can, and preferably WANT to comply. So there’s a lot of joined up thinking needed... and waaaay before one demands anything of the public!

As to using one's vote I could not agree more. But it is also a rather disingenuous argument. How many can really claim to be able to pinpoint the individual numpties messing our lives up at local or national level with sufficient accuracy any more (they all change so much it's hard to even keep up with who carries what responsibility) to target one's electoral protest?

I'm sorry, as with the road pricing, this is one environmental campaigner who will be fighting a potentially highly enviROI+ measure simply because in its current form I have zero trust in the reasons behind and competencies of those trying to instigate it.


Dave said...

I think the most telling statement in the entire piece is Pickles' comment - "I fear that families who can’t pay or won’t pay these new taxes face intimidating bailiffs at their door and inside their home. The end result will give perverse incentives for people to fly-tip or burn their household rubbish. Bin taxes aren’t a green tax – they’re Labour’s latest excuse to tax more by stealth."

Pay more tax, or burn and/or fly-tip? Another example where the gov may well be forcing the consumer to do the opposite of what was intended.

Peter said...

As so often happens these days, I remain unsure of the law, probably because many are left vague to leave open the option of a fine.

Last time I was aware, you could not burn anything until after 5pm with, I imagine all sorts of things you can't burn listed in a vault somewhere.

This does not seem to stop the travellers next door having a tyre pyre every so often, and passing Panda cars going past ignoring the black plume at midday.

I would dearly love to deal with soem winter brush in this manner, but no being all eco await a nice day to walk my trolley around to the dump and doubtless expalin why this is better than 20 trips in the car to pop in the compost skip in one shot.

Maybe a Prof's Poser?

ps: Have you noticed that Blogger Spellcheck has been offline for a while. I posted on help and a kindly nerd said it was noted and being addressed.

Dave said...

I may well be wrong but I think the rules on home bonfires are more locally set and enforced rather than there being any central gov rules and regulations.

Re: Blogger Spellcheck. I gave up on it long ago and use Firefox and its own dynamic spell checker.

Peter said...

Oh, great, yet another way to confuse folk. So I move from one boundary to another and think I am OK but may not be.

I guess ignorance of the law is no excuse, but I wonder hwo many would know to check... and where.