Thursday, 25 November 2010

Great ideas for advancing the BIG society

Bill Newman

I see that the noble traders of Milngavie are doing shift work to operate the town's public toilets themselves in order to save the Council money and to promote, presumably, the "big society". But why stop there? Residents could be volunteered to organise their own refuse collection, unpaid of course, and hard-working voters could be encouraged to maintain the roads in their spare time. No-one could then complain to the Council about the pot holes endangering motorists and discouraging cyclists from venturing out. Perhaps graves could also be dug by grieving mourners.

The main drain on the Council's coffers is our schools, however. There is a simple answer to this problem. Scotland has a huge pool of unemployed teachers and these could be used without pay to gain valuable experience in educating our youth. Should this prove insufficient, then surely there are many retired teachers who would relish the opportunity to renew their joy in front of the eager faces of school students; naturally, there would be no need for monetary compensation. Nor need the size of classes be limited. Academic studies on the merits of small class sizes are ambiguous at best.

Should all this sound too idealistic, readers should bear in mind the great new scheme from Strathclyde Passenger Transport that residents in remoter areas should organise their own bus transport needs.

You may think that the implementation of these imaginative advances towards the "big society" would save the Council sufficient money to reduce Council tax, but it must be remembered that the future cost of the private funding of school construction and refurbishment has to be paid for at great expense into the remote future and we have to continue paying the wages and expenses of our senior executives and our governing Labour-Conservative councillors.

If none of this appeals, then it is surely time that we return to the concept that our Council gives priority to the real needs of our community and endeavours to meet these needs. But this, of course, suggests a socialist alternative where needs take priority over greed and opportunism. This may be unfashionable to our current breed of politicians, but it is a realistic alternative whose time will come again.

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