My mother became asthmatic late in life and I’ve always been convinced that it is because she is too clean. Yes. As you know I hold, shall we say, unorthodox views when it comes to health care. You might as well have the full ugly truth, my personal hygiene leaves a great deal to be desired, or not as the case may be. It is indeed probably the strongest of a number of very good reasons why no one has ever wanted to marry me. My bedroom makes Tracey Emin’s look like the presidential suite at the Waldorf so even inebriated nooky is out. No one ever gets that drunk.
My long laboured point is that after lifetime of being alone in this belief, I was actually proved by medical science to be absolutely correct relatively recently. Following years of meticulous research in their little white coats, cosseted away in nerdy labs, devouring taxpayers’ money faster than Ken Livingstone on Saga’s Jewels of Marxism Cruise, the bobble heads came up with what I have known practically from birth. Being too clean can make you ill because it suppresses your immune system. There is a reason why children scour the floor for dropped delicacies. Your own germs are nature’s antibiotic.
I habitually drink from dirty cups. It is not unusual for me to use the same coffee cup, unwashed, for days. I once made a bet with a bar owner when I lived in
In our usual spirit of wait until a problem becomes virtually insurmountable and then overreact in the manner of a decapitated chook, Environment Minister Ben Bradshaw has unveiled his considered for a minute and a half solution to supermarket over-packaging. The Guardian reports today,
'Shoppers were urged yesterday to take direct action to force supermarkets to cut the excessive and wasteful packaging that goes direct from the shop shelf to the household bin. The environment minister Ben Bradshaw advised food shoppers to leave excessive wrapping at the tills and to report the stores to trading standards in an attempt to cut the amount of unnecessary plastic sent to landfill sites.’
How did we get here? Does anyone think for a moment that supermarkets made boardroom decisions to devolve a slice of their huge profits on packaging items that don’t require packaging for no good reason? They were responding to increased customer demand for hygienic sealing, surely. Doesn’t anyone else remember those paranoid times in the 80s when everyone was getting ‘jabs’ before they went on holidays to Jersey? People took food instead of clothes in their suitcases when they vacationed in Torremolinos. They drank beer instead of water, ‘because it was safer’. A night on the ale would probably only leave you half conscious on the beach minus your travellers’ cheques and your passport, which you were far too sensible to leave in your room because of the thieving locals. Drinking the water though would most assuredly kill you. I have drunk tap water from
So, let’s look at the strategic approach offered by our minister. It contains all the hallmarks of a classic Government response to a very serious problem, (grocery packaging accounts for one third of landfill waste – a further third is disposable nappies.)
- It is fatuous and flippant. Possibly not a high water mark, but it's close.
- It requires individual members of the public to do all the work.
- It will irritate absolutely everyone involved and probably cause fights.
- No one in their right mind will participate in it.
- It serves no useful purpose as the waste still exists and will have to be disposed of, just by someone else.
It also contains an irredeemable flaw in logic, the type of which this Government is an exemplar. The people who care about pointless packaging don’t buy their fruit and vegetables pointlessly wrapped in the first place. They take their twenty-year old raffia basket which they have lovingly repaired with string over the years down to the local farmers market or they get a delivery from Abel & Cole which cheerily and reliably brings them non shrink-wrapped fresh seasonal vegetables once a week in a reusable box. So please go away and stop wasting our non-recyclable money on your sub Blue Peter creations you sticky back plastic morons.
Picture of Bugs Bunny by Warner Brothers