Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What a waste of a country

I sometimes wonder if I am getting too jaded by the system.

In passing, I added a few blogs past a link to an ITV recycling expose with little comment as I was not terribly surprised. I have long known, and been disgusted by the fact that recycling collection targets are based on amounts that tick boxes rather than actual value of recyclate. So big fat bonuses and careers are forged on the acquisition of a spurious 'thing' that makes bureaucrats wet themselves but serve the environment little. And yet it happens so often, in so many places, I cease to bat an eye.

But then I happened to read a blog post from some others who, it is safe to say, care, and until this point had some faith in the system. I still care, a lot, but as to faith in the system...

A Rubbish Service TV programme on ITV1

Addendum - It may be viewed for a period here*

Their sense of anguish and frustration was... is frankly palpable. And little wonder.

With all we know. And all that is being said, and claimed, and claimed to be done, and spent, and even after the exact same thing being brought out by the BBC (remember the Grosvenor situation? Though the Fred Pearce book (reviewed here) does have an extra insight into some aspects) years ago, the general public gets shown this.

How on earth will any group cohesion be possible on a national level when we are exposed to fines and abuses in the name of green at one end, and such rampant disarray (being charitable) at the other?).

It seems to me it is only by letting the will, and good will of the people to blossom will anything sensible take shape. Almost all the pols, LAs, consultants, advisors, officers, research and myriad of other 'eco-posts' are but expensive, distracting, 'jobs for the boys' drains on actually doing what's right and proper for our kids' futures.

My only concern is that the main way I can try and effect change, through my vote, will be ineffective these days as I simply cannot pin down, and hence target those who are responsible and give them the career and financial kicking they deserve. And so the rumbling ship of.. in a state will simply plough on, regardless. What a waste of a country.

Newsnight -

Last night ITV ran an expose of the state of our national recycling policies and systems, whereby an OAP seems eligible to be sent to Elba for popping an extra cabbage leaf to their bin, yet the person in charge of such a policy at their LA has no clue where container loads of 'recycling' (note: the tonnages box-ticked are only on what it is (might be); nor whether it is any use to man nor beast) goes, but for sure will be ready first in line to get their bonus for an all round sterling job.

I am minded of a BBC expose back in Dec 2005 that covered pretty much the same thing.

What, if anything, has changed, bar the bonus structures on an index-linked basis, plus what's shaping up as a terrific 'guilty 'til proven still guilty' revenue-collection system?

Maybe when our convoy of governance has got back from its outing to trying to run the country again without more wheels falling off, maybe one of the succession of environment Ministers (past and present... maybe even Mr. Milliband?) might be invited to waffl... comment on how we have come so... er.. far.

I really don't see much point in all these stories if they are not followed up and the protagonists held to account.

* I have now watched the programme - first up the usual quango talking heads waffling and promising investigation and action. Heard that before? What amazes me is that this still goes on and those involved (inc. pols, LAs, etc) seem to think that they are immune from the consequences. But on such evidence, maybe they are right.

It is good that there are such programmes, but I have to wonder what the follow-up will be.. after the last one. But at least this time the point was made about the level of penalties we are being subjected to in the UK on a personal level, and maybe if enough of us get miffed enough at such rampant inequality and hypocrisy we may decide to get angry enough to react.

I did/do have to wonder how it came to be that the UK waste processor seemed to accept some highly contaminated waste quite stocially and simply passed it on as 'damaged goods'. Surely they should fire it straight back as rejected? Money talks, surely?

These highly paid government servants and fat cats cannot be allowed to weasel out of this based simply on a huge number of 'don't knows'. One agrees the public may feel 'let down', but suggests we continue recycling. That's all well and fine (note that word). But there are people accountable, and they should be held to it.

Green Halo

It's a new term I am playing with for things that seem to be fine in a 'why not?' way, but seem to have also been accorded a clunky bit of green in the process to , er, 'help'.

And this is a terrible example by being actually the exact reverse.

Driving instructors get green light from DSA to teach students 'eco-safety'

It's a bit of green with a clunky bit of 'why not?' attached.

Thing is, I am not sure it is serving the message of either too well by being so clunky.

I can get my head around driving safely, and being taught how to be even more so. I can also sort of get an eco-version, though much is plain common sense, but a few I have read about (Not here) might save a bit of gas but are certainly not helping safety at all.

But all in all, if I ever hear 'Eco-safety' like this, I'll ru... drive a mile... fast.

Good job I am not being asked to do another test... yet.

Times - Eco-safe driving: more lessons, more money - All becomes clear. And gives sensible green advocacy and even steeper slope to surmount... in 3rd, of course.

Newsnight - Post 3.

A lot is explained

Politicians need wisdom when chosing green regulation

An interesting discussion around the Two E's, plus a worthy link as well.

A small reminder

I thought this letter in the Indy today was well articulated:

Energy policy about to hit the iceberg

Your correspondents ("Bringing down the cost of solar panels", 4 September) are not just re-arranging the Titanic's deckchairs, they are busily hammering holes in her hull. Yes, you can make anything appear viable by offering subsidies, but artificial "feed-in" tariffs, renewables obligation certificates and support for biofuel producers merely transfer the economic costs to the taxpayer and the environmental costs to the planet.

Most renewables, particularly micro-generation, do not just leave users out of pocket; in many cases their production and distribution absorb more energy and emit more carbon than the units will ever pay back. By contrast, turning down the central heating or putting out some lights costs nothing and saves money on the next bill, not in 160 years.

We must recognise that reducing our energy consumption is essential, because all forms of fuel are running out, because we are increasingly dependent on foreign regimes for our supplies and because most energy use causes CO2 emissions. We must have an energy policy which includes sustainable sources such as underground coal gasification, geothermal energy and community-based combined heat and power. Unlike most renewables, these offer energy 365 days a year. Wind and solar have a place when they can be installed on an industrial scale at the point of use, but those who believe they will allow us to continue our squanderous lifestyle while saving the planet are recklessly deluded.

Thing is... are we really surprised?

Main parties 'reneging on green promises'

Well, we all know what a 'pol's promise' is owrth at best. Butthis could equally lurk in the 'Two E's" category as a reson if not excuse.