Monday, 12 October 2009

TOIL(ET) AND BOREDOM

I've got to be honest with you, on the local front, things have gone pretty quiet. I can practically see the tumbleweed whistling past my window. The local newspapers don't really yield any juicy gossip I can sink my teeth into, nor is there any trivial details to mull over and contemplate.

Peeking at the other local blogs, I've noticed a similar malaise has been creeping in, a general sense that not much is happening at all. How can I tell, you ask? Well, for one thing, blog posts have become less frequent. That usually indicates that our local bloggers are either too busy or, in my case, have run out of things to harp on about.

There are some interesting developments worth taking note of – you've probably already seen Eastcliff Samantha's post (and BBC South East's scoop*) about the Thanet Council binmen admonished for throwing blue recycle bags in with landfill rubbish. The other one is the AWOL Cllr Broadhurst fiasco, which appears to be getting more and more absurd by the minute. It turns out his resignation letter has been refused to be ratified by Thanet District Council because it was signed on Broadhurst's behalf, so his resignation won't officially stand for the time being. It's a farce, I tell thee. I've kept silent on the Cllr Broadhurst story for quite some time, largely because I felt I wasn't fully up to speed with all the details. But I am now in a position where I am getting to grips with the full story, so expect an entry dealing with this subject sometime this week.

In the meantime, being the crude and peurile person that I am, the biggest issue to grab my interest has been the Thanet District Council's decision to close public toilets to shore up public finances (see: Big News Margate). This, believe it or not, is gonna force people to waltz into public establishments (i.e. pubs, restaurants, etc.) to use the loo, without even buying food or drink, but seriously, who can blame 'em? In the Thanet Gazette recently, Andy Barrett, owner of the Belgian Cafe in Ramsgate, clearly does blame 'em, as he was quoted as saying: “I would start charging for people to use my toilets.” Come off it, mate. If you own an establishment where members of the public are likely to frequent (for bodily functions or otherwise), then you can't expect to get shirty about people using your facilities.

Goodness, how are people so willingly eager to exploit people's biological processes in such a monstrous way? I mean, sure, charge for food, drink, etc. but a piss? You seriously expect people to pay to have a wee? I've never understood that notion. Especially if you buy a drink first, then you have to pay again to squeeze it through your bladder. Surely, if they installed a rule where you can buy a drink, and then get a wee free, then I could understand. Then again, if the Thanet Council hadn't opted to close public loos in the first place, we wouldn't even be having this ridiculous discussion about people neglecting us the right to urinate free of charge.

In my opinion, shoring up public finances or not, I think the decision to close public toilets isn't the wisest of moves. Honestly, have they not heard of The Sims? Basically, it's a video game where you create avatars and, well, you build a house, create lives for them, get them jobs, feed them and – yes – prompt them to go to the toilet at a click of a mouse button. Now, what happens when you don't prompt them? Yes, that's right, they piss themselves, and they leave little yellow puddles on the floor.

So, if people are like sims, we need public toilets. Otherwise, don't be surprised if people piss on the streets. In fact, one quick whiff outside the closed doors of the public toilets and you'll discover that this has already started happening. Trust me, it'll be number twos next, and nobody wants that, so they better hurry up and resolve it, I say. They'd probably spend more money mopping up the faeces than they would've done keeping the bloody toilets open.

Now, I'm not pretending to be an expert on the financial motives behind their decision – number-crunching isn't my game – but I still think it's outrageous that an essential public convenience has been mercilessly ditched in this manner. After all, urination is a human bodily function as much as drinking water is. Would Thanet Council be so keen to neglect us of water just to save some dosh? I'd like to think not.

It's all very well emphasizing the poor state of public finances, but you can't use that as an excuse to deny us a place to heed nature's call. By the way, check out Cllr Mark Nottingham's inspired entry on From One End of Kent about Sandy Ezekiel and the public loo fiasco for a bit of a chuckle, it kind of throws things into a much-needed perspective.

Funny though, isn't it? Haven't you noticed that all of these stories I've touched upon have involved Thanet District Council? Their fingerprints are all over everything, like some sort of gruesome murder scene where you don't need a forensic team to know who the culprit is. It does to be a recurring trend whenever tempers are fraught and public outrage is afoot. The fingers automatically start wagging in the same direction. Hardly surprising though, is it?

* I was later informed BBC South East did not get the scoop. Respectively, Peter Checksfield and Lord Matt of Thanet Star have the honour of sniffing out the recycling/rubbish story. My only defence for my error is that the first I heard of the story was when I saw it on BBC South East News, watching TV, like the philistine I am. I suppose that's what happens when I do a sloppy, uninspired blog entry. Hey ho. Needs must.

4 comments:

  1. "BBC South-East's scoop"? This was featured on The Thanet Star over 24 hours earlier (& The Thanet Star got it from me).

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  2. Oh. Must've missed that. Put it down to human error.

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  3. It's all true. The power of social media ment that Peter picked up the story passed it on to a few people and I figured out how to embed the video to a blog post. Blogging is most definitly a team effort and a lot of the getting the story out quickly credit goes to Peter without whom I might have missed it.

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  4. Let's have another fire. That should warm things up on the news front. Where shall we have it? Dreamland again? The Pav in Ramsgate? Hawley Square? Suggestions on a postcard please!

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