any day today rss twitter

Bonkers Blog February 2011

Index: 200920102011201220132014201520162017201820192020

19 February - Bringing home the Bacon

Let’s talk about a council service that runs reasonably well, at least it does for me and no complaints have been received from anyone else, and that’s the refuse collection since Serco took over. It’s a long time since I was chased indoors by a ranting dustman demanding a tip - he said I had put out too much cardboard and he had taken it only as a favour - and I seem to have cured their tendency not to reach in to collect my couple of supermarket bags at the bottom of the bin. I now put them in one of the clothing collection bags that are regularly poked through letterboxes which are long enough to be reachable if you put them in the bin appropriately. It is impressive in a way that Bexley has achieved quite good recycling rates without resorting to criminalising the population. Maybe councillor Craske could learn a thing or three about treating residents with some degree of respect too. Err, sorry… flight of fancy there.

I am very fortunate to have a small recycling bank within easy walking distance, if it wasn’t for that I might be singing an entirely different tune. All my paper, glass, plastic and tins are taken there daily and my only complaint is that they keep shuffling the bins around and as a result and out of habit I once put all my glass in the plastics bin and vice-versa. Some people seem to do that deliberately, this morning I spotted a leather belt, some plastic bags, a couple of ‘pop’ bottles and a load of polystyrene in the paper bin. I’m afraid it’s a regular occurrence. I suspect it’s people who can’t read, what other excuse can there be? I can just about accommodate the green and brown bin in my front garden without creating an eye-sore; there is no way I will ever accept more and while the recycling bins are nearby I don’t have to.

In one of the papers this week was an investigation into council bins and the different policies across the country. Some councils manage with a single bin and Newcastle-under-Lyme issues nine into which residents are expected to segregate different materials. Utterly ridiculous. In the middle of the table were 78 councils using five bins. I assume Bexley was one of them, I’m not counting the small kitchen scraps bin which is a bit of an optional extra. So do we have someone on the council with a modicum of intelligence who masterminded a reasonably successful scheme? If we do it seems likely it is councillor and cabinet member Gareth Bacon.

Councillor Bacon is nothing if not a good organiser. He is employed full time recruiting staff for local government jobs for Eric Pickles to get sacked - nice synergy that - and it probably provides him with a comfortable living. Except that the job is a bit too parasitic on the state for my liking I don’t grudge him a decent income for a decent day’s work; what isn’t so easy to take is grabbing large sums from the taxpayer for an hour or two spent here and there on voluntary sinecures.

Bacon is not only councillor for Bexley’s Longlands ward and cabinet member for the environment he is chairman of the London Fire Brigade Performance Management Committee and member of the London Assembly. How can he find the time for all these part time jobs on top of his 9-5 in London?

He is a bit of a control freak, maybe that helps. After the Metropolitan Police Authority investigated the use of ‘kettling’, that is the police entrapping people they have taken a dislike to for hours on end, and found it of dubious value, and Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary produced a critical report, Gareth Bacon advocated its use and went further by suggesting police have cameras sewn into their uniforms. Not nice to know we have a councillor in favour of imprisoning pregnant ladies and other innocents. I wonder what his views are on bashing newspaper sellers over the head? Odd that he supports police thuggery but is critical of firemen and transport workers.

He may be right on the latter, maybe there is a case for taking away their free travel perks, but Bacon is not the man to do it. The hypocrite claims a Zone 1-6 annual travel card from the public purse. Well done Gareth, I’ve never heard of anyone but you getting free travel to his London office without having his collar felt.

You have to hand it to him. A nice job shuffling people around to various council and quango non-jobs and in the few hours left over at the end of the day, juggling four voluntary jobs netting the best part of eighty thousand pounds. His missus is on the same game too. I suppose he should be called ‘a professional politician’. At least he delivered something worthwhile to Bexley for the vast amount of money he takes us for. Craske and the other bungling amateurs must be envious. I still can’t believe how that snivelling twit Tandy has the cheek to say he takes his £18k. because he needs to own a computer and a phone.

The newspaper investigation came up with this result… Nine bins, one council. Seven bins, 20 councils. Six bins, 37. Five bins, 78. Four bins, 125. Three or fewer bins, 161.


Return to the top of this page