Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Local authority shenanigans: a hip-ocratic state?

Regular readers of Private Eye will notice the frequent appearance of Salford City Council in their Rotten Boroughs section. The antics of Salford CC have come to the attention of the national news media several times over the last couple of years. On the one hand we have local government complaining of budget restraints and attacks on local democracy through the centralisation of decision making in Whitehall. On the other there are certain local authorities who spend £100,000s on a 'community' magazine and a pink ice-rink, services few people want or value. Local government is also quick to complain about the costs of litigation culture, but at the same time contributes to punitive culture of speeding fines and fixed-penalties. Throw in the widespread use of ASBOs to regulate community behaviour and installation of CCTV on the high street, we kind of end up with a local state best described as Big Brother Lite.

The on-going battleground about wheelie bins continues with the £600 fine issued to one local resident who didn't put his bins away. Now you might argue that it is easy to put the bins away at night, but this kind of misses the point. Someone from local government has been employed using tax-payers money, not only process this prosecution to also monitor and gather data. In other words this miscreant has been under surveillance.

I can think of worse crimes. But this wouldn't even been considered a crime 20 years ago. In many parts of the city, people don't have gardens and have to put their wheelie bins out in the back-alley way, as I used to do when living in Seedley. Are these people subject to the same monitoring and surveillance?

Further, residents don't have any choice but to use the wheelie bins. They were imposed by the local authority, even though many people find them cumbersome and difficult to move. And of course with the move to kerb-side recycling, many households now have not just one, but four wheelie bins - black, pink, blue and brown. Finding a place in your garden to store all these contraptions is problematical for many households, there is simply nowhere to put them, especially if you are doing work in your garden or cleaning the car.

The situation whereby local government is prosecuting someone for not putting their bin away, like the frivolous use of speed cameras, appears manufactured by the State itself. Perhaps we should rise up and resist the all-seeing eye of the wheelie bin police, and leave all four bins out for a fortnight, a wheelie bin uprising. Can the prosecute all of us .... probably :(

Source:Man fined �550 for leaving out wheelie bin - Telegraph

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