Congratulations to Tory controlled Walsall Council

Actually that really should be the EU who’s legislation has managed to drag an area of UK environmental practices into the 20th century* but we’re dealing with the new recycling scheme we’ve got round these parts.

Bit of background. A fortnight ago we got a new wheelie bin. One of those 120 litre ones that is now designated for non-recyclable waste – it’s black btw. The old 240 litre green wheelie bin is now for recyclable waste only and we’re allowed to keep the old green box that was supposed to be for recycling.

Here’s how it should work. The 120 litre bin should be collected on weekly and the 240 litre on a fortnightly basis. All good stuff although I’m curious as to whether the council would have bothered if it weren’t for the EU threatening to impose massive fines on councils but in general terms I like this arrangement as opposed to the previous ‘system’.

Given that Walsall MBC failed to collect my recycling box for the five years I had it and our genuinely positive attitude towards recycling here at Penguin Central I was looking forward to see how the new system would pan out.

A fortnight in and our black bin was collected last week but not the recycling one which is fine because last week we had a couple of bags in it as an overhang of our rubbish that had accumulated before we were able to actually separate everything out. This week we managed to cut our non-recyclables down to a single bag which is pretty good going for a family of four but the recycling bin was getting dangerously close to capacity.

Today’s bin day in our parts and thankfully the recycling bin was emptied. Oddly though, our non-recyclables bin wasn’t. The bin men couldn’t have missed it, it was sitting next to the other bin they emptied so what exactly is all this about? We were promised by my favourite Tory Councillor Rachel Walker who apparently has responsibility for Environment that weekly collections for non-recyclables were guaranteed. If I was in a particularly sarcastic mood I guess I could say this was a case stealth fortnightly collections by the back door but I’m not, they might just have accidentally missed mine.

There is however an important point to this. In a situation where the ability to put out non-recyclables has effectively halved, a missed collection is even more problematic. It is in the end just a good job that we’ve been so good at sorting out our rubbish here which means we’ve still got plenty of space for this week.

That said, I think there should be a little more care taken in how the bins are put back after they’re emptied. The pavements on our road were strewn with bins all over the place this morning which makes me rather glad that I don’t use a wheelchair or motability scooter because I’d have had no chance. It could of course be a clever method of creating temporary chicanes to stop the kids riding their bikes fast on the pavement though.

Well done Tory Walsall council, after 5 years of not collecting my recycling box you’ve managed now not to collect my new non-recycling bin.

*That was deliberate.

Do the Tories care about data protection?

I’ve been sitting on this one for quite a while now on the off chance that it might be worth mentioning but as the Daily Mail seems to consider it open season on Labour MP’s I thought it only just and fair to redress the balance a little. Here’s the Daily Mail article that outs Labour MP’s for not registering their offices under Data Protection Act.

So without further ado, here’s a nice little list of all the Tory MP’s that I can’t find any data protection registration for* (Note the asterix for those that are hard of reading, there’s an explanation at the bottom)

1. David Amess
2. Richard Bacon
3. Henry Bellingham
4. Paul Beresford
5. Brian Binley
6. Peter Bone
7. David Burrowes
8. Douglas Carswell
9. Bill Cash
10.Christopher Chope
11.James Clappison
12.Geoffrey Clifton-Brown
13.David Davies (no, not the saviour of liberty, the other one from Monmouth)
14.Philip Davies
15.Nadine Dorries (why am I not surprised)
16.Alan Duncan (Shadow Business)
17.Philip Dunne
18.Michael Fallon
19.Christopher Fraser
20.David Gauke
21.Robert Goodwill
22.Justine Greening
23.John Greenway
24.John Gummer
25.Stephen Hammond
26.Greg Hands
27.David Heathcoat-Amory
28.Nick Herbert (Shadow Justice)
29.Adam Holloway
30.Gerald Howarth
31.John Howell (New boy in Henley should we give him the benefit of the doubt?)
32.Jeremy Hunt (Shadow Culture)
33.Nick Hurd
34.Stewart Jackson
35.Bernard Jenkin
36.David Jones (As promised if any MP’s were registered and dropped me a line I’d say sorry and make an amendment). David has been in touch, he does have a registration (Z9069890) so well done that chap and apologies. It must have been the dates that threw me as the registration only appears to have started in March 2008 despite him being elected in 2005.
37.Edward Leigh
38.Julian Lewis
39.Andrew Mackay
40.Anne McIntosh
41.Andrew Pelling
42.John Penrose
43.Malcolm Rifkind (shocked at this one really)
44.Laurence Robertson
45.Richard Shepherd (Equally shocked given how long he’s been in the chamber)
46.Mark Simmonds
47.Keith Simpson
48.Anthony Steen
49.Andrew Tyrie
50.Ed Vaizey
51.Rob Wilson

I make that 51 Tories that I cannot find any Data Protection Registrationfor,  of which (and lets indulge ourselves in a bit of Daily Mail-esque outrage for fun shall we) shockingly shows the scant regard that the blue boys show for our legislation on data protection with a whopping 26.4% (more than a quarter!) of all Tory MP’s with no sign of a registration.

The Daily Mail also helpfully points us at what happened to the last MP that failed to register, a £200 fine and £500 in costs. So if all those 51 50 Tory MP’s check out then I make that an estimated cost to the Tories of £35,700. The question is, am I prepared to dob them in to the authorities? Well, if the Daily Mail considers it a matter of principle and doing your civic duty to crack down on naughty politicians ignoring the law then as a good citizen I can only do my own duty likewise. Consider a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office as good as sent.

*The disclaimer part. I have extensive knowledge of and longstanding experience of using the ICO’s data protection register. However it is not a perfect system and is highly sensitive and strict to the information queried against it. In the cases where I have found no obvious data I have used wildcards and different configurations of name and title to attempt to find a registration. In the case of those with double-barrel names I have tried both with hyphen, without, the singular of each name with or without the MP title. In the case of some names such as Nick and Rob I have tried variations on what they may be considered to be an abbreviation of such as Nicholas and Robert. In short I’ve tried my best to find a record and these 51 Tory MP’s still draw a blank. If you are one of these MP’s or a representative of them and you possess a valid up to date data registration then as the fair minded person that I am, I am prepared to amend the list. All I will require is the registration number so that I may check it against the national database of which you can supply me with via either the comments section or if you do not wish to appear there, through the dedicated contact page (link at the top of the site).