The anger and frustration is on the rise. Locally and nationally deference has diminished and now everything is fair game. Facts and fiction are under the same duvet conjugating, although at least one of them is unwilling. Politicians and officials say one thing. The communities experience another. Not enough talking and listening? Not enough money? Not enough will?

Across the board austerity and/or ideology have corroded our life experience. Apologists on the one side and critics on the other. The bell rang way back and the former are losing some control. To escape accountability private firms and their kerching are parachuted in at our expense. Instead of being council officials they are often corporate employees being ripped off and abused. It cannot be nice especially for those who do a decent job.

Walking through any community the general feel can be determined by cleanliness. Clean streets; frontages; gardens… all create an ambiance of pride (although we know what follows pride). The responsibility is all of ours. But, and it is huge BUT, it is up to all partners in this social contract to work together. If I am obligated to put my rubbish in a bin then the political representatives are obligated to ensure there are plenty of places to put it and that they have space for my rubbish. Otherwise the contract is broken as it would be if I dropped my litter on the floor.

When I visit France the bins are community centred. They are a place for chatting or simply saying ‘Bonjour’. They have much greater capacity and they are emptied daily. We should have separate bins across communities for food, recycling and non recyclable waste. For this though we need the will and too few have it. Either because of cost or because they don’t sympathise or because they cannot be bothered.

Why should my family put rubbish in an over filled bin when they have to push it down and might get cut by a sharp object? Why won’t the council be absolutely honest and tell us why they are not fulfilling their social contract? Until these questions and many others are answered and negotiated communities will increasingly become them and us and that benefits very few.

Douglas James

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