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Peter Rhodes on fly-tipping, extracting money from pensioners and saving the nation's crockery from Boris

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

Read today's column from Peter Rhodes.

Expect more fly-tipping

EUPHEMISMS of our time. The BBC says over-75s who don't pay their TV licence fee will receive "support visits" from "outreach teams." And when an MP refers to these teams "coming to your door," the BBC response is: "They won't be coming to your door in quite the way you imply."

SO in what way will these (let us choose some new words) licence-enforcers and pensioner-scarers come to one's door? Dressed as Santa Claus, perhaps? Suspended from a cable like the Tooth Fairy?

THE nasty truth is that dear old Auntie Beeb, having provided free viewing for over-75s for many years, is planning to wring £154.50 per head out of the nation's grannies and granddads. This will not only be a PR disaster but will almost certainly involve tragedy. Given the millions of old and frail folk involved, someone is bound to drop dead of anxiety.

BUT it's the sums that are most intriguing. How much will it cost to send an "outreach team" of at least two people, plus their vehicle, to put the screws on (sorry, "offer support to") a single little old lady? And when it turns out that the cost of extracting £154.50 is £200, what then? I suspect we are seeing the beginning of the end of the TV licence. This is a good thing, but it could be a slow and grisly process.

IT is truly heart-warming to hear Allison Ogden-Newton, boss of Keep Britain Tidy, praising the innate goodness of British householders. She was commenting on news that 47 UK councils now charge folk to dump items such as old toilet seats (£20), bags of rubble (£4) or tyres (£3.90). Ogden-Newton says: "Helping people to legally dispose of their rubbish will reduce, rather than encourage, fly tipping." Really? The garbage-strewn lanes of Olde England suggest otherwise. Some scumbags are already fly-tipping items that can be dumped free of charge at their local tip. Imposing new charges is more likely to increase this menace.

THE stupidest example of fly-tipping I ever saw was a settee dumped in a canal lock at the back of some houses in Walsall. The essence of fly-tipping is to put as much distance between you and your rubbish, as quickly as possible. A settee in a canal lock is going nowhere, mute witness to the fact that the dimwit who dumped it lives just a few yards away.

CALL me a miserable old fogey but I don't really want to see Boris Johnson's girlfriend, Carrie Symonds, sharing 10 Downing Street with him. They've only been together a short time and it hardly seems a settled, serene relationship, It's only a few weeks since their neighbours in Camberwell allegedly heard them shouting at each other and smashing the plates in some domestic falling-out. Theresa May may have her faults but I bet she took good care of the crockery at No 10. The nation's Royal Doulton and Wedgwood are too precious to be entrusted to the plate-smashers of Camberwell.

Peter Rhodes

By Peter Rhodes

Award-winning columnist and blogger. Keeping an eye on the tribulations and trivia of a fast-changing world

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