Published: 18 May, 2012
• I IMAGINE I’m not the only reader who’s rather perplexed by the council’s “shop a dropper” policy (Off the lead… the squad who sniff out dog mess culprits, May 11).
Yes, dog mess is unpleasant and possibly a health hazard but, on the other hand, could it be a natural source of sustainable fertiliser for our green spaces? What a worry!
Then there’s the debatable wisdom of spending £240,000 to launch the new campaign and taskforce.
Presumably, there will be a plethora of back-office support staff who will be keen as mustard to track non-payment of fines, hold meetings, issue press releases and arrange those all-important photo opportunities for councillors.
Still, I had to wonder: why now? The country is going through the worst recession since the 1930s with no end in sight, council budgets are being cut, unemployment is going through the roof, services are being lost – possibly for ever – and Islington Council decides this would be a good time to spend our money collecting dog mess.
Thank heavens I’m not a councillor.
This kind of knife-edge decision is way beyond my ken.
So, you won’t be surprised that I really had to sit up and pay attention on Sunday when, while reading The Observer’s Andrew Rawnsley on the recent political re-launches and Ed Miliband’s contribution to Labour, I saw this: “He wants his party activists to spend more time engaging with the electorate.
A lovely idea, if only Labour still had an army of people to mobilise onto the doorsteps.
He also commended reconnecting with voters through local campaigning.
When I asked one of his aides what sort of campaigns the Labour leader had in mind, I received the reply: ‘Dog shit.’ He went on to explain that in Carlisle, a Labour gain at the council elections, the party enjoyed a great success harnessing local discontent about canine excrement…”
I imagine that the contentious re-branding of Islington Green came from the same party headquarters policy advice to “get local”. One has to weep when a once-great party has so lost touch with reality and its own proud roots that this is the best it can offer.
Still, I take some pleasure from imagining Sir Humphrey congratulating Councillor Paul Smith’s “bravery” on his decision to become executive member for dog mess.
Highbury New Park, N5