|with credit to the Barnet Press|
The above items appeared on adjacent pages. The council crowing about how many Fixed Penalty Notices have been issued for littering (Mr Mustard will not defend you against one of those as he is against littering) and Richard Logue, a fine citizen from Mill Hill, bemoaning the fact that he and his team couldn't stand the state of his local park any longer.
A few points spring to Mr Mustard's mind:
1. If the council are issuing 12 FPN a day then their educational messages are not getting through. Any FPN is a failure to educate residents, and visitors, to not drop litter in Barnet. The state of the borough may make them think littering is normal. The cleaner the borough the less likely littering is to occur.
2. The penalties collected are retained by NSL under the terms of their contract. NSL are not a charity so it seems doubtful in the extreme that they are making a loss on it so we, the council tax payer, must be overpaying. It is also a question of public policy. Negotiating a deal where a private company directly profits from public wrongdoing, they are paid a fixed price so the more penalties they issue the more profit they make. It just seems wrong to Mr Mustard. He suspects that they will go for the easy targets like fag butts rather than tackling the big stuff, like bags of shop rubbish and dumping of fridges & mattresses.
3. The cleaning of parks does not have a high enough priority if 10 bags of waste can be removed from just one park. Are there sufficient bins in the park and are they emptied frequently enough?
4. Volunteers should not have to make up for Barnet Council's policy & performance deficiencies.
5. We all pay council tax because it is cheaper to pay collectively in order to keep our public spaces clean. Mr Mustard is not going to pay twice by also volunteering to clean up his local park (besides which most of his time is taken up in fighting parking PCN).
6. It is for the same reason that he won't volunteer to play at being a librarian.
7. If you want to be a volunteer then there are plenty of more worthy causes than Barnet Council, such as Age UK and the North London Hospice where your time will be genuinely appreciated, rather than just as a political message.