A photograph in the Oxford Times shows Labour Group councillor John Tanner surrounded by heaps of the green and blue boxes and wheelie bins into which we now sort our rubbish. I assumed that the story was about storing the vast amount of rubbish which John Tanner utters in a typical week, but it was in fact about new plans for consolidating all the recyclables into a single recycling box.
As I predicted (see Labour’s win is Oxford’s loss) Tanner is claiming credit for thinking this up. Aside from the obvious oddity of putting “Tanner” and “thinking” into the same sentence, the plans were well under consideration under the former Lib Dem administration. It does not really matter whether the councillor in charge is a thoughtful one like the previous incumbent, Jean Fooks, or a non-thinker like Tanner. The rock on which these things founder is the herd of dumb animals at Oxford City Council who actually administer the scheme.
Their most recent contribution to building good relations with the populace was to leave on the pavement a bag full of plastic bottles which did not fit into my blue box (see Just empty the f****ing bins). The next step, no doubt, will be some helpful advice about reducing the quantity of milk we drink.
I am not sure that having to separate our recyclables is the worst part of the new regime – it seems a minor act of good citizenship, particularly now that the dumb animals have at last agreed on a consistent description of what goes in which box. What is deeply unpopular is the amount we are left with each week (rubbish does not diminish by being sorted), the coincidence of large council tax increases with a reduction in services, and the attitude shown towards us by the nobodies whose large salaries are paid for by our taxes.
The improvements which Tanner has inherited from the Lib Dems may attend to the first two of these. It seems unlikely that a Labour administration will do much to fix the officers’ unwarranted contempt towards those whom they are supposed to serve.