Who pays the piper
If a demonstration was needed of who calls the tune for the TaxPayers’ Alliance, you couldn’t get better than Friday’s performance of TPA spokesperson Emma Boon on Sky News. She was interviewed alongside Green Party spokeperson Darren Johnson, where she parroted Eric Pickles’ line on weekly bin collections. The right-wing TPA, which claims to be independent and fight against government profligacy, quite happily supports Pickles’ plan to throw hundreds of millions of pounds at councils already running fortnightly collections, to pay them to run weekly bin collections.
For a political party and a lobby organisation that claim to be anti waste, they seem to be awfully fond of it.
Boon even repeated Pickles’ claim that “bin collection is one of the few visible things Council tax payers get for their money”, which isn’t an argument for weekly bin collections, but a demonstration of how dishonest their position is. We don’t pay for services to be ‘visible’, we pay for jobs to get done.
The additional claim that this was a fight-back against Euro diktat would be laughable, if these spoiled goods weren’t making or influencing government policy.
However, both Pickles and his TPA puppet Boon have failed to lay the blame for any of the costs of waste disposal at the door of the manufacturers and retailers. If packaging was reduced and a system of reuse of glass containers were introduced then waste going into the recycling stream would be reduced, and landfilling and incineration of contaminated recyclables would be cut.
Despite this blog post title, this story really isn’t about confirmation that the TPA is a Tory black ops PR front. That’s pretty much settled. The real story is in how we deal with our waste. Instead of a rational approach to finding a waste solution, Pickles has decided to appeal to the lowest common denominator: Tory voters.
Darren Johnson argued on SKy News that fortnightly bin collections in conjunction with smaller weekly food waste collections presented a more sustainable and less costly alternative. Organic waste collections means composting, and methane can be extracted for energy use, instead of wasting a resource in incinerators and landfill.
Fatty Pickles has £250m to waste on this rabble-rousing folly: he’s literally throwing money in the bin, and the TaxPayers’ Alliance is cheering him on. Imagine if he instead had decided to invest it in finding a sustainable zero-waste solution, he might have actually gone some way in achieving something useful.