Sunday, 2 October 2011


So the Tories' latest gimmick for their conference is Eric Pickles's wheeze to bribe councils to re-introduce weekly bin collections. In fairness, this does honour one of their pre-election pledges but in practice it's as daft as John Redwood after a litre of scrumpy.

Here in Tory West Oxfordshire, we have had fortnightly collections for about a year now and its all going fine. Our waste is collected every two weeks, our green waste the other week and our food waste every week and all is fine. In my village we have no overflowing bins, there is no evidence of fly-tipping and I have seen no signs of open rebellion on the streets of Witney on Chipping Norton. What is happening is that recycling is going through the roof and I for one am thinking a lot harder about what I throw away, perhaps using up that food in the fridge which is on the way out instead of simply chucking it out without a thought. I suspect others are doing similar.

As I cycle around the area I have seen no evidence of any problems anywhere. I don't get to every village hereabouts but I would guess that my neighbours are comfortable with the new scheme, including one D. Cameron esq. Now, he is different because I understand he now spends a lot of time in London but the challenge for him and for the normally sensible Eric Pickles is to say whether Mr Pickles is right or whether the local Tory Council is right. A clue might be gleaned from the response of the Tory Council leader wheeled out on the Today programme last week to dismiss the Pickles Bribe as nonsense.

So here's a challenge for the Prime Minister. Who is wrong on this issue: West Oxfordshire Tories or Eric Pickles? If he can't answer this one, god help him when it comes to the Palestine vote.

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