Wednesday, 29 July 2009


In the ‘60’s there was a swing away from “the establishment” toward “rights for the common working man”. In this country we had a ground break TV show called “That Was The Week That Was”. The material was satirical, cynical and, at times, downright treasonable but they a shone light into murky holes and dragged sleaze and corruption out into the open. It was great stuff.

But now, in my opinion, the pendulum has swung too far. The “common working man” has become the enemy of good, honest, hardworking citizens. I was told a story this week that typifies the petty bureaucracy that is now blighting us.

A friend of mine had her wheelie bin stolen. She rang up the council to ask for another bin and was told that they wouldn’t supply her with a new one. She had two young children in nappies, so she asked what she should do and was told to take her refuse straight to the tip. As you would expect she was incensed, and kicked up an almighty fuss. But the council wouldn’t be moved. No new bin and that was that. She rang them so often to complain that in the end they refused to take her calls. Luckily she had good neighbours who allowed her to deposit rubbish in their bins and that was how she managed to get by.

This lady is a ratepayer, a teacher and her husband’s a computer programmer and because they were diligent and careful with their finances they had managed to buy their own house. A few streets away lived her cousin who was not a ratepayer, had never worked in her life, lived on benefits, and, along with her children, lived in a council house. She complained to the council that her wheelie bin was too small and was immediately issued with a “family size” bin.

One day my friend was in town when there was a political rally taking place. She marched up to the front of the crowd and told her story to the candidate and the next day was issued with a new bin.

Obvious it was within the remit of the council to supply new bins; they had, after all, supplied her cousin with a new bin and, after the candidate intervened, supplied her with a new bin too. So what was going on here?

It is my belief that because she was perceived by the council to be a “successful person” living in her own house she was penalised and because her cousin was perceived to be “underprivileged” she was rewarded. Come back “establishment” all is forgiven. You aren’t the enemy after all. The “common working man” is!

And finally … ever says 'It's only a game' when their team's winning.


Sandi McBride said...

It's a pity how often this happens, but political correctness has become quite annoying as well! Makes one want to tear out hair in bunches! Good for your friend, I'm glad she finally prevailed in the long run!

rosiero said...

Crikey, we have to supply our own dustbins. Our council have only ever provided the recycling boxes. I think we need to move!

Maggie May said...

I cannot hardly believe this!
One day my son was watching his bin being emptied by a council lorry and suddenly it was swallowed up inside & never came out again.
He rang the council who delivered a new one next day.
Maybe it would have been easier to say it had been swallowed up rather than stolen?
I don't know what the world is coming to. Seems its a bad idea to buy your own home and work for a living. As regards saving. Is it worth it?

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

You are probably correct in your assumptions RAC - it is infuriating. We live in an area where we provide our own bins and have to pay for the collection of our green bins but I do sympathise.

Loved your last comment - had never thought of that before! A x

Anonymous said...

we had this when one of our bins disappeared
We have bins for every bloody thing.
We were told we would have to pay for a replacement .My argument was much along your lines - if I was on benefit and not paying into the pot ,would I get one - yes I would.
I played holy pop.I objected to paying for other peoples bins and wanted my money to pay for mine - I was as silly as they were. I then threatened to bring my rubbish to the town hall and put it in their bins, which I also paid for through my contributions.
I got my bin- was it really worth it , yes it was ,just to make a point.

Sarah said...

Yes, but it did show that in the end, speak to the right person and you get what you want. It does appear that some seemingly undeserving people get everything, while people who work are penalised. Maybe good, hard-working citizens need their buttons pushing till they stand up and make a fuss about injustices, because in my experience they (we) are trained to take the crap thats thrown at them,grumble a bit, then carry on. Yeh, lady, stamp your feet! Now, what else can we sort out????

jay said...

That is just disgraceful! Did they think she had invited someone to steal her bin? Or perhaps she'd purloined it to store her winter woolies in? For goodness' sake, they are nuts!!

We had our bin hit by a car which was reversing into our drive, not once, but twice. Each time, our bin was replaced without question, and very promptly, too! We are householders and claim no benefits so it does work fairly in some areas at least.

If I had been your friend, I'd have bagged up my rubbish and left it at the kerb on bin days and contacted my MP too. They can indeed be useful on occasion!!

Retiredandcrazy said...

I know Sandi, doesn't it make you feel so helpless (and angry)?

Retiredandcrazy said...

Our council supplied recycling bins (no doubt at great expense) and then withdrew, replacing them with PLASTIC bags. I just don't get the logic of that!

Retiredandcrazy said...

The problem with claiming that Maggie is that the wretched council would probably have some sort of surveilance to check the story out and if they thought the bin wasn't swallowed would probably ban collections altogether! Do I sound paranoid?

Retiredandcrazy said...

We are actually quite lucky here Anne because we do at least still get weekly collections.

Retiredandcrazy said...

Isn't just gob smacking VM? Because I have daily contact with many good citizens who tell me their stories, mostly in confidence, I know things that I can't speak about. It makes me rage against the machine.

Retiredandcrazy said...

But why should we have to rely on happening across someone willing to help Sarah. They are supposed to be public servants and someone should define "servants" to them. In in the 1950's I trained as a typist in the General Post Office in London. It was hammered into us that we were paid by the public and all our work was visible and should be of a high standard. Whatever happened to that ethos?

Retiredandcrazy said...

I understand what you are saying Jay, and I must stop generalising mustn't I. Thank you for setting me on the right path again. I do go over the top at times. (Me? nah! surely not!!)