Jock Coats, local Lib Dem activist, wants private rubbish collection?

Time to open up waste collection to proper competition I’d say.

These people are your servants not your masters.

Jock Coats writes in Refuseniks (http://jockcoats.me/refuseniks), objecting to the council trying to maintain city-wide standards of service for rubbish collection. He says, with some contempt, that “These people are your servants not your masters” and, like a late ’80s follower of Milton Friedman says, “Time to open up waste collection to proper competition I’d say.”

Now, I am not going to defend every actual instance of the implementation of social contracts. Maybe the council can do better. But, I am damn sure that I do want mutual, civic rubbish collection by civil servants earning a fair wage, working with the co-operation of citizens who recognise that their “servants” are human beings pushed to do more and more with less and less. We are all collectively arranging, through the council, to have our ridiculous quantities of rubbish disposed of in as safe and as sustainable manner as we can. Being a citizen is not just buying services and moaning. We all have our part to play. One part is agreeing that sometimes it is better for all if one or another of us adapts their behaviour, such as by being reasonable and civil in how and when we package our waste for collection.

The middle class, to the detriment of the excluded, happily privatise services such as security (private security guards, alarms and CCTV services), health (BUPA etc) and education instead of funding the common-wealth through taxation. After private bin men, what next? Private fire departments? Come on, Jock. Bill Maher has a good rant at this in the Huffington Post, here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-maher/new-rule-not-everything-i_b_244050.html

If the service is “opened up to competition” who will service the third of the city that live in the “regen arc” along the eastern ring road? Are you arguing for poor services for poor people? Do we want random bin lorries chuntering down East Oxford’s narrow streets every day of the week because one person would prefer their rubbish collected on Tuesday and another on Friday?

Equality pays off. Inequality in society makes life worse for all, and – as you would expect – those on the lower end of the scale get a disproportionately worse deal than those at the top. See http://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/about and my recent post http://rworld2.posterous.com/the-equality-trust

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