More and more, day after day, I feel less in sync with life in 21st century Britain. Or should I say England? Or maybe the UK? I never used to worry about that sort of thing.
Maybe it’s the European Union, but then I never felt very happy there. I thought we were conned into going in, I never liked the bureaucracy and feel the justice system is weighted against the innocent. Its so-called democracy is a pale reflection of ours and I’m surprised that so many people think its Parliament has the same function and powers as the British Parliament.
But then, I’m constantly amazed at what some people think, just as they would be amazed at what I think – if I told them.
Most of the time, though, I’m just puzzled. Take recycling. All of our recycling goes into one bin – apart from the food waste. So the cardboard, paper, cans, bottles and many different kinds of plastic have to be separated by someone else, which must be easier than it sounds. Presumably.
And I’m still not sure what kind of plastic can be recycled. All of it, or just some? What about greasy paper? Or plastic smelling of fish? Is there a risk of cross-contamination? A news story this week suggested that householders in some areas might have their bins taken away if they don’t wash out their baked bean cans; so expect to see lots of baked bean cans littering our motorways. Or have I missed something?
Paint, of course, can’t be recycled or thrown away, unless – as I have recently been informed – you put cat litter in the cans and dry the paint out. Then you can throw them away, but not recycle them. That makes sense, doesn’t it?
Did I mention smart phones? No, I don’t want to recycle them. I just want to know why my iPhone works better on 4G than it does on Wifi when I’m at home.
Regular readers (yes, I mean you – both of you) will not be surprised to hear that I am also puzzled by speed limits, which are so often inappropriate. For instance, our local highways authority has recently placed 30mph limits on several of the major roads heading north outside the city while they cut down some trees in preparation for building a distributor road.
These limits may be necessary to protect workers if the trees are particularly close to the highway, but the limits remain all night and over the weekends, when nothing is happening. Many drivers with an “It’s the law” mentality jam on their brakes and proceed at funereal pace all night, while others with a more practical outlook ignore it. I would say that was a recipe for disaster, but of course it isn’t: it’s an accident waiting to happen.
Now I understand from the Alliance of British Drivers that the Government is set to scrap the statutory requirement for signing speed limits altogether. This, it suggests, “can only result in multiple signing standards, the creation of real danger, genuine confusion and the criminalisation of swathes of the motoring public”.
This sounds like malice on the part of the Government, but I was always taught never to attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity, and I expect this falls into just such a category.
As does so much else. I heard the other day that it takes five hours to fill in a form to get a disabled person a stairlift. Of course it does. Why wouldn’t it?