Tag: stupid

Worthless debate from a worthless MP

With the economy in trouble and signs that the local economy could suffer soon, you’d think that how the government spends billions of our money as it attempts to prop-up the economy would be worthy of serious debate. The government’s representative in South Swindon, Ms Snelgrove, thinks otherwise and can contribute no more than petty point-scoring to the debate in parliament.

Ms Snelgrove

Is it bad judgement to oppose Government action to protect small savers’ money in banks and building societies, or just another example of social justice from the perspective of the Bullingdon club?

Mr Speaker

Order. The honourable Lady really should cut that behaviour out.

Ms Snelgrove often berates Swindon Borough Council for not talking to her first before bidding for money from central government. With the infantile approach to politics that she displays, it’s amazing that anyone would waste their time talking to her at all.

Freezers to replace wheelie bins

Just a week after Swindon Borough Council suggested doubling the number of plastic bags used for throwing away rubbish, we now have an even less efficient suggestion from a local resident: freeze your rubbish, then put it in your wheelie the night before collection. Ms Harris, whose idea this is, seems to be rather proud of her ‘logic’ in coming up with this idea.

I’ve done it ever since I’ve had a wheelie bin and I’ve never had maggots. It was an idea I just came up with myself. My husband says I apply logic to everything and it doesn’t always work, but this does.

It’s such a great idea, I’m thinking of buying an industrial freezer and providing, for a reasonable fee, maggot protection services to my neighbours…. On second thoughts, perhaps not. Let’s examine Ms Harris’ logic.

It’s simple. Instead of throwing away old plastic containers, that you get things like strawberries in, keep them. Put all your scrap foods and bits and bobs from your plate into the container…

That assumes you buy sufficient amounts of overpackaged food to store the scrap food in. It also assumes that the problem waste is sufficiently dry not to leak out of the container.

then put them in the corner of the freezer.

The corner of the freezer? Just how big a freezer is this? Someone cooking meals daily could easily generate more than just a ‘corner’ of waste in one fortnight. Those not doing serious cooking but reheating pre-packaged food are likely to have large amounts of bulky soiled packaging even less suitable for this treatment. And placing waste in proximity to waste: I’m sure the Health & Safety wonks would have a fit about that. Freezing significantly slows the decay process, it doesn’t totally stop it.

Anything frozen will not attract vermin or maggots or anything.

In a fortnight, true, but until it freezes you’ve got waste potentially oozing whatever contamination it already has over food in the freezer.

I’ve done it ever since I’ve had a wheelie bin and I’ve never had maggots.

There’s as much sense to that as there would be to burning all food just to avoid the risk of it being undercooked. Admittedly, the council’s own suggestion of double-wrapping rubbish is not much better.

According to Swindon Borough Council’s own figures, each week’s rubbish collection costs less than 75p per household.* Anything that costs more to prevent the maggot infestations is a step backwards in efficiency from the well-known Victorian solution to the problem.†

*Up to 1 tonne of rubbish per household per year with the cost of collection in 2004/05 (in the era of weekly collections) £38.62 per tonne.
†Yes, I know just a minority of households have suffered wheelie bin infestation, but the council’s advise is to everyone, not just the afflicted few.

Cheesy advice

The combination of health advice and commercial promotion is never a happy one. The joining of the Dental Health Foundation and the British Cheese Board for National Smile Month is no exception. The intended messages, from the dental professionals side, seem to be that, if you must snack, then cheese is better than something sugary, and that consuming milk based food, such as cheese or yoghurt or milk itself, at the end of a meal will help reduce tooth erosion. But these have got rather lost in translation with the cheese marketing message taking precedence. The reported comment from a local dentist, who has been handing cheese out to child patients, suggests that she has swallowed the whole of the marketeers’ message.

It’s highlighting the fact that cheese is good for you. One piece is not going to reduce their decay, it raises awareness and informs people.

Quite. Oxygen is good for you too: without it, you suffocate; get too much of it and it is poisonous. Similarly water is good for you: too little and you dehydrate; breath vast quantities in and you will probably drown. In the simplistic view being presented, cheese ‘is good for you’ because it helps reduce tooth decay, and fruit juice is bad because it is sugary. It seems they’ve forgotten that there’s more to good health than just healthy teeth. The high levels of saturated fat and salt in cheese have been ignored (as has the contribution of fruit juice to a healthy intake of fruit and veg).

The dentists should stick to dentistry and leave the food marketing to others.

How many government ‘partnerships’ does one town need?

The answer, apparently, is quite a lot. A quick trawl through the web came up with the list below.

Now, I’m sure some of these do worthwhile work but, looking at that list, it does seem rather incestuous, with partnerships forming further partnerships, all with the added cost of yet another bureaucracy. A bit of digging on these organisations’ websites reveals that they are all a consequence of one or other central government ‘initiative’, wherein getting hold of some extra money for Swindon from central government (or stopping central government taking money away) is dependent on setting up a new quango.

If national government thinks that a way to improve local participation in democracy is to add multiple layers of bureaucracy, then its understanding of democracy is clearly very wrong indeed.

Whatever happened to business travel?

If the press are to be believed, there’s no such thing as business travel. The 12% increase in bookings reported by Holiday Inn is just from holiday makers and not business travellers…. Hmm… I guess that explains why, even for a summer booking, they charge less for a weekend booking than for a mid-week one at either of their Swindon hotels.


Mr Tomlinson has clearly been stocking up on sand recently, enough to thoroughly bury his head. His response to the announcement that Marks & Spencer will open a branch at the Orbital Centre in north Swindon is shockingly naïve.

This is absolutely fantastic news for my residents. There have been rumours of this coming forward for quite some time. And during that period residents have been asking me to support it – which I am delighted to do. It is an excellent addition to the Orbital Shopping Park and I’m sure it will prove very popular. But the Orbital centre will never replace Swindon town centre. It will work alongside the town centre to improve Swindon’s offer to shoppers.

Decades of experience of ‘out-of-town’ shopping centres in towns across the country demonstrate that the reality is highly likely to be the opposite. You don’t need to be a genius to realise that anyone from North Swindon who is currently a customer at the town centre branch of M&S is unlikely to be one once the new branch opens. It’s hardly likely to lead to an increase in business at their Outlet Centre branch either. With people like Mr Tomlinson at the council leading the town centre redevelopment, the future for Swindon town centre looks bleak.

A council leader in search of a meaning

I see that Swindon Council leader, Mr Bluh, has been drinking at the fountain of verbal garbage again. To quote.

We need to drive the whole community forward including businesses, partners and residents. We all have to play our part in meeting a global challenge. The town’s growth agenda doesn’t play into sustainability. We have an even bigger challenge to make sure it does. We have the vision and the low-level detail. Now we need to get it embedded into everything we do.

Really? And the meaning of that pile of twaddle is what? Mr Bluh may think he has ‘vision’ but what he’s saying is just a fog of tired, content-free phrases. If he does have ‘the vision and the low-level detail’ then why within the same article is one of his council officers quoted as saying.

This council recognises that it doesn’t know enough at the moment. It is about being an example, but at the moment we are not.

One could be forgiven for thinking that Mr Bluh has just slung together several sentences of imprecise waffle to try and sound impressive, without knowing anything about which he speaks.

An inconvenient town

It’s strange the approach Swindon Borough Council is taking to regeneration of the town centre. Its latest proposal seems aimed at closing all town centre public toilets that it maintains and paying retailers, pubs and restaurants a £500 subsidy per year to open their customer toilets to the general public. The idea is to be trialled in Old Town, where the council also propose to close the public toilets. Now, I haven’t done an in-depth study, but as far as I am aware, very few of the shops in Old Town have customer toilets. Which means that outside of the times that the local pubs and restaurants are open, there would be no facilities available. And with a subsidy of just £500 per year for allowing anyone to wander through their premises, I can’t see many retailers or restaurants taking up the offer. If this inconvenient approach spreads, shopping for the weak bladdered could be limited to afternoons and evenings only.