Sunday, July 13, 2008

Conservatives Talk Rubbish

Even as David Davis was planning his victory party for liberty, Gideon Osborne was prattling on about paying householders for recycling.

While this may be an idea worth considering, the Tories aren't talking about the necessary changes required to make this work - and there's a reason why not. You see, you may recall the screams of pain from the Daily Mail et al over the suggestion that electronic tags on individual wheelie bins would be used as spies to allow householders to be fined for their wasteful behaviour. The fact is that if Georgy Boy gets to introduce this payback policy, then those in-bin tags will be required - how else will the private companies be able to run the scheme?

Incidentally, as the Lib Dems in Warwickshire have pointed out, the Tory council in Stratford on Avon is planning to dump three months' worth of green compostable waste in landfill and then suspend their green waste scheme between August and April next year. Vote Blue, don't go green...

And now we have Swindon's Tory administration - days after David Cameron slags Swindon off on Test Match Special and then drops in for a visit - are reconsidering their support for the local speed reduction partnership. This despite the fact that reducing urban speeds to 20mph reduces accidents by 60% and if you hit a pedestrian at that speed, 97% will survive, compared to 80% at 30mph and only 50% at 35 mph. When they are hit at 40mph, 90% will die. Nobody is saying that speed is the sole cause of accidents, but it is a contributory factor in 28% of all fatal accidents and cameras help to force a reduction. In Swindon, fatal accidents have dropped by almost a third since the cameras were installed and accidents involving children have been halved. In the areas where cameras have been sited, the numbers killed or seriously injured are down by over two thirds - that translates to 13 lives saved a year.

On the one hand, the council claims to be on the side of the ordinary, hard-done to motorist and this "blatant tax." But a few lines further on, the truth is revealed

But we pay about £400,000 a year to the partnership – money which goes straight into the Government's pockets. We don't get anything back. There are much more important things we as a council should do instead of acting as a law enforcement arm of this government. [Emphasis added]
So, there's the reality. It isn't about the poor motorist - just that the council doesn't see any of the money. Equally, the Tory council don't want to act as the law enforcement arm of a Labour government - in line with the Eric Pickles demand for Tory council non-cooperation with the government.

But at least the Tories got their headline - setting an image of them as pro-motorist. Has Cameron been listening too much to Clarkson?

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