Paul - who brings friendly nonsense (blur_kiwi) wrote,
Paul - who brings friendly nonsense

This one's in the bag - a column

A news story broke here at the weekend. It wasn't a surprising one, no 'shock horror' this time. The deputy prime minister of this soon to be dis-united kingdom decided to kick off his party's annual conference with a bit of a bang. It sort of illustrates how insignificant the job is when his big announcement is that in about a year and a half's time there will be a 5p charge for carrier bags. Read all about it, and I hope you're sitting down and have the reviving brandy within reach.

Recovered? Good.

I'm sure you'd expect this anyway, but I have a couple of opinions - though more accurately, an opinion and a couple of points to make.

My first thought, when I turned on the radio and heard the story on Saturday morning was, 'Good. About time.' And that was pretty much my second thought too. I don't see a problem with it; I don't think it's something up for debate. Just go ahead and make it happen, Mr Clegg. And then I had third thoughts.

My third thoughts seem to be much more considered than my first or seconds. I suppose it's because they come ambling along after the initial reaction has looked around and made a run for it. Let's forget the obvious environmental concerns; they're a given that I don't think even have an argument against them. Let's concentrate on more people-sized issues.

When I do my weekly shopping I always take a few strong reusable bags of my own, so that I don't need to rely on Mr Sainsbury's free handouts. And most people I see doing their shopping at the same time seem to do the same. I think this has become the norm. I have no doubt that people who just drop in for a couple of things don't bring their own bags. They are more likely to walk out with one of those flimsy things that will eventually cost them 5p, and I'm sure that accounts for a hell of a lot of bags over a day, week, month or year.

My points, questions and concerns aren't really about the use of bags, but are more about implementing this scheme. As the BBC article says, this same kind of scheme has been running in Wales for five years. It has gone successfully and raised a lot of money for charity. To me, this creates a bit of a moral dilemma - do you continue to use the supermarket's bags and see the 5p as a legitimate donation to charity, or do you aspire to being miserly and deny that charitable donation by taking your own bag? Which is better?

My next point is more of a rebellious one. If I have to buy a bag, to pay 5p for it, I refuse to pay to then advertise for someone; because of course, the bag is an advertisement. Why, otherwise, do shops and supermarkets make sure their name and slogan are plastered all over the bags they give out? You, carrying their bag through the streets, are advertising for them, carrying a mobile hoarding. And with this scheme you'll be paying for the privilege. So, I've decided that, if that happens and I have to use one of their bags and pay 5p for it, I'll make sure I turn it inside out before I fill it. Perverse I know, but there you go.

My nearly final thought (probably my fifth or sixth by now) was even more simplistic. When I was a child, and I went shopping with my mother, in the days before carrier bags had even come along, she had a shopping bag or basket she always took with her. Why can't we go back to that? Then there just won't be bags available. People have become lazy, assuming they'll get a bag when they shop. If that option's not there they'll have to do the right thing, and the only people to suffer will be the charities that won't get their enforced donation. Back to the moral dilemma.

And finally, why wait a bloody year and a half before implementing such a scheme? When they announce yet another rise in the tax on petrol they've hardly finished speaking before the numbers have gone up at petrol stations all over the country. When they put another penny on a pint of beer, you're paying more that very evening. They have evidence from Wales, and other countries, that this works, they know what's got to be done, so why not just do it and say that, as of next Monday this is the way it's going to be?

Then it's in the bag!

Tags: columns

  • For Monika on her birthday...

    ...though I'm sure many others will recognise these places. This time, because I've photographed them lots of times, I tried to get images…

  • Floody Hell! Again

    Since just after Christmas, this is what my outside world has mainly consisted of. The floods are back, some villages are cut off completely, some…

  • Portrait - Flute

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.