Friday, 2 July 2010

Volunteers Issued With New Net Curtains to Twitch

I did think twice about writing this post honest. But the 'Post' has already given it the positive spin so I think it's my job to provide the cynical one. Cos that's the kind of blog this is.

NCC has recruited a bunch of volunteers to spy on "look out for and to report environmental issues".

Info is thin on the ground on NCC's website so far but from the 'Post' article it seems that 'thousands' of volunteers are to be recruited to report on environmental problems in their area. They will be given a special hotline and email addy to speed their reports to specially waiting crack clean-up squads and their reports will be given higher priority than those from the hoi polloi. As a special reward, they will be given 'updates' when the work is carried out.

We are told that they will be looking out for -

"...problems like fly-tipping, litter and abandoned cars..."

which is all well and good. But I can't help wondering if this will degenerate into a quagmire of trumped up reports on unpopular neighbours who don't 'fit in' or are the wrong skin colour. The quote from one of the geezers they've already got signed up hardly inspires confidence -

"Let's face it, years ago everyone used to clean their own front doorstep and their pavement, but you don't get that now."

Well no, that's because anybody who scrubs their front doorstep is an arse and we pay taxes for the council to keep the pavements clean. I've heard you used to be able to leave your door unlocked without a worry as well, it's just not the same since all them darkies came over and closed the pits down...

This all part of an initiative called the 'Big Summer Clean' and I'd be the first to agree that there's worthwhile stuff in there. Personally, I'm looking forward to -

"Garden Watch
Tackling nuisance gardens, do your garden with the help of the Tool Train and Garden Assistance schemes."

I could do with some help from that 'Garden Assistance Scheme'. But unfortunately it's only for Nottingham City Homes tenants (even though it's run by the City Council), the rest of us just get prosecuted. And of course, in Nottingham City Council's eyes I can't possibly be disabled because my mental health problem isn't a 'proper' disability and I haven't got a social worker. Pick the discrimination issues out of that lot.

All these 'report on your neighbour' type schemes have a lot in common with the anti-social behaviour agenda, which itself seeks to re-brand certain poor persons' crimes as ASB and lump them in together with a bundle of non crimes and deal with them all together. Thus you can big up the ASB problem by constantly referring to the real crimes while using crime resources to stop teenagers from hanging round street corners and taking advantage of 'respectable' people's willingness to spend their energy peering through their net curtains at people they disapprove of. Now they've got a hotline for wheelie bins and belligerent begonias as well. And, of course, you get extra government resources to do all this and expand your empire. Or at least you used to...

A useful side effect of these agendas is that people are less likely to notice the real problems that go on in the Council House. We don't notice the leader of the council trying to secretly offload council assets for half their value and then lying to a council committee about it. We don't notice him secretly funneling council cash to a consultant. We don't notice cabinet members hiding their interests in certain organisations, then closing down potential competitor organisations and keeping the decisions secret.

We don't notice any of these things because we're furiously dialing the hotline number to report that Dirty Gertie from Number Thirty has left her wheelie bin out for 20 minutes too long and has offensively coloured washing out on the line.

We need to get a grip.


Nick B. said...

I've just had the Clifton Labour Party news through the door this morning, the headline reads "DOG POO" CAMPAIGN STARTS IN CLIFTON
Apparently we're getting forty new dual bins and a "Poover". Am now anxiously awaiting details of the 5h*t hotline.

Andy said...

A 'dog poo' campaign?

Is that like -

"what do we want?"


"When do we..." etc