I see Eric Pickles has published a “bin bible”, designed to bully councils into maintaining or reverting to weekly bin collections. I think he should back off. If local government has value, it is because it is local and local politicians usually know better than a bin baron esconced behind his desk in Whitehall. It is called “localism”, Eric.
It is probably 15 years now since Cherwell District Council took advantage of a government-funded scheme to move to fortnightly collections with wheelie bins replacing the old fashioned dustbin. I was a District Councilllor at this time and the “dustibin czar”. I launched what I described as the “democratic dustbin deal”. Households that wanted to move to modern wheelie bins received them free; those wishing to retain their old dustbins were free to do so. It worked.
In Cherwell, we have three wheelie bins, green, brown and blue. The green ones (non-recyclable) are collected in one week and the brown (garden) and blue (paper & other recyclables) ones in the other week. Thus we have a weeekly collection but it rotates round the types of waste ….. and it works. So leave us alone, Bin Baron, Bible-spouting Pickles. My local council knows the locality better than you or your political advisers ever will.
What is critical to understand is that one rule for all (or one Bible for all) does not work. Look around Cherwell and you will find that our bin scheme works. Go to Oxford City with a much more urban environment with closely packed teraced housing and wheelie bins are a nightmare for residents and an eyesore for visitors.
So, Eric, please leave local government to do what it does well – think and act locally and decide what is best for the communities it serves. Also, allow them to balance the huge cuts you have imposed on them across services in the way they believe to be fairest. Again, they will know better than you or your political advisers.
Frustrated to be told to back off, Eric? Well, maybe it is time for a change of role? I think you would make a damned good Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills; you just need to work out how to lose the present incumbent and we would all give you three cheers if you managed it.
There is another option, Eric. Instead of turning local government into a local administration adjunct of central government, you could always abolish it. Oh yes, you would lose that army of councillors who sometimes turn on you when you spout complete nonsense. However, you would also lose many of your MPs their shock troops who campaign for them at election time. I don’t know how it is for you in Brentwood & Ongar but here in Banbury Constituency, Tony Baldry MP depends almost exclusively on his local councillors to turn out and campaign for him in the general election. Ask him if you don’t believe me; ask other MPs and I suspect you will find this is true everywhere. You upset your local councillors at your peril, Eric. I know you have done it for years but every worm turns eventually.