Two things that are annoying me at the moment

Posted in Janine's blog on Tue, 16/05/2006 - 15:41,
  1. Dry gardening magazine articles.

    Like this one. And adverts. And even a bloody Mayoral campaign.

    Fair enough if you just want a nice garden that you don't have to be arsed to water too often. But this is being marketed as the latest weapon in the war against climate change.

    Wake up. Global warming is not caused by me watering my begonias too much. And the solution does not lie with me creating a desert landscape in my small back yard in Hackney.

    Nah, mate. It's production you want to be looking at, much more than consumption. Get those big companies to stop spewing poison into the atmosphere. And while you're at it, get the water companies to fix the leaky pipes. (Thames Water, by the way, is sponsoring Ken 'scab' Livingstone's dry gardens campaign. Ahem, but, it would, wouldn't it??)

    Tackle the corporate sector?! Oh no - that would involve reining in profit-thirsty capitalist enterprises, wouldn't it? No chance of that, then.

    Best stick to trying to persuade Janine to replace the clematis (pictured) with cacti. No chance of that either.

  2. More than a fiver to take your kid swimming.

    Five pounds five pence in fact. And that's just me and one kid. Take the whole family and we'd need to ring one of those loan companies that advertise all day long on Channel Five.

    Look, there's a public health crisis about childhood obesity, right? But a swim in a public pool (in this case, a pool run by a not-for-profit company on behalf of the local council) costs more than a Happy Meal. With extra fries.

    So how about the government make swimming and other sports free for kids (and any grown-up who has to accompany them), and fund it by taxing the ill-gotten profits of the junk food companies?

    Er, cos that would involve reining in profit-hungry capitalist enterprises, wouldn't it? No chance of that, then.

    Best stick to laying guilt-trips on parents and leave them to fight a losing battle against Ronald McDonald.

    Anyone spot a theme emerging here?

Culture and Reviews


Submitted by Janine on Wed, 17/05/2006 - 14:33

Hackney is crap at providing leisure facilities (for example, this closure of both Clissold Leisure Centre and Haggerston Pool. The swimming pool I was referring to is actually in the neighbouring borough of Waltham Forest, as of the two (yes, only two) council swimming pools in Hackney, one did not allow kids in at the time we were going, and the other we don't particularly like.

But the main problem I have with your analysis, Arthur, is that it seems to operate within the box of isloated accountancy. If kids get into sport at an early age, the potential cost savings for the Health Service, and for the economy, are huge. But this is never registered on the income-and-expenditure balance sheet of the Council's finance department.

Your final paragraph seems to spell out a view that has led many Councillors to accept that because the government - and the whole political system - are crap, therefore their options are strictly limited. We can win improvements in public facilites not by making them more 'efficient' (which is often cover for attacks on the workforce or on service standards), but by mobilising people to resist attacks and demand better.

Submitted by Bruce on Wed, 17/05/2006 - 17:39

It's a bit embarrassing for the water companies that their profit figures come out just when they are issuing drought warnings. Over £2 billion in total.

At the same time, the EU 'carbon trading' scheme to deal with global warming through market mechanisms is failing - they issued too many permits to begin with, doubtless to avoid inconveniencing business too much - while Guardian ran an article on how the worst carbon producers are all large energy companies.

Submitted by Janine on Sun, 04/06/2006 - 16:17

According to a letter in 'The Londoner', Thames Water has closed seven reservoirs of late, six of which have had private housing built on them.

I'm just off to water my garden. Generously.

Submitted by jane ashworth on Mon, 05/06/2006 - 00:23

Old, crap pools may be running a £20 per swim subsidy! These old pools need knocking down and replacing with nice, new and efficient ones.
School playing fields need replacing at least in part by 3Generation astro-turfs.
And if you want to know why the UK teams do poorly on the international stage (at least in sports where loads of countries participate) its becasue, with the exception of soccer. league and judo the national teams are drawn from the top 20% of the population.

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