Friday, April 28, 2006

On that point...

People have been complaining a lot that all the Conservatives seem to talk about is the environment in the run up to the local elections. Danny Kruger was pretty much on the button when he said that environmental matters were pretty much all that Councils could do these days (although it should be noted that EU Referendum wonder whether he never heard of the Landfill Directive, or the Waste Framework Directive?)

Even if movement is restricted by pan-EU directives, what Councils do that visibly make a difference to day-to-day life tends to focus on recycling, public transport, street cleaning, park maintenance and so on. When I leave my comfortable Tory borough and venture out to Camden or Hammersmith, one thing that strikes me is the relative untidiness of the streets. My colleague has noted that the primary cause of this is grotty people littering.

In my neck of the woods there is a rather high-profile police station. Nearby is a school with a wonderfully high-flown and potentially misleading name. One morning as a bus disgorged its load of shining morning faces outside the police station, one of them tossed her copy of the Metro dashingly over her shoulder. As a result of recent terrorist scares the station is patrolled by armed policemen. One of these picked up the paper and tapped the girl on the shoulder. Her look of surprise was something to treasure.

I don't know if armed police are the most cost-efficient anti-littering policy, but it's certainly the most fun to watch.

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