Fringe Box

Socialize

Twitter

Opinion: I Have a Little List…

Published on: 3 Jan, 2021
Updated on: 5 Jan, 2021

By Martin Giles

Taking my cue from Koko, the Lord High Executioner, in Gilbert & Sullivan’s Mikado, I have, at the beginning of this new year, drawn up my own little list, not of those who should be executed, although it is tempting, but of things that could surely be put right without too much trouble, for the great benefit of us all.

And I am very reasonable on deadlines: I only expect all changes to be effected before 2022!

Altogether now…

As someday it may happen that a cause must be found
I’ve got a little list — I’ve got a little list

The little plastic labels on fruit, long and short and round,
And which never would be missed – they never would be missed!
There’s the pestilential nuisance of all packaging that’s plastic
If we could rid ourselves of that, wouldn’t it be just fantastic?
There’s the stupid mounds of junk mail that goes straight into the bin
The wastage of much paper, that costs trees to make’s a sin
And we’re still producing diesel engines, why for earth do we persist?
They’d none of ’em be missed — they’d none of ’em be missed!

[Chorus]
He’s got ’em on the list — he’s got ’em on the list;
And they’ll none of ’em be missed — they’ll none of ’em be missed

I am afraid I don’t have time to keep that up so I will revert to a simpler style.

  • Tackle the causes of deprivation that require people to use food-banks
  • Ban party “whipping” in Parliament
  • Introduce a form of proportional representation at all levels of government
  • Replace the “road fund licence” with extra taxation on fuel
  • Reduce the weight and size limits of road damaging HGVs
  • Perform a hugely popular last-minute U-turn on Solum’s hated plans for re-development of the railway station
  • Devolve planning appeals to elected “Planning Commissioners” – one for each county
  • Devolve control of local taxation to local government
  • Construct a contiguous cycle network for the whole Borough of Guildford
  • Charge an affordable amount for community/non-profit use of the Guildhall
  • Remove requirement for the Mayor of Guildford to be a sitting councillor
  • Make mandatory, free-to-view coverage of major sporting events

And signing off with an unaltered couplet from the original,

“Then the idiot who praises, with enthusiastic tone
All centuries but this, and every country but his own”

Of course, we all have our little list of bugbears and I know they will not all coincide with mine. I am certain I have missed out things more important and included some that are trivial.

Please do use the “Leave a Reply” feature below to tell me where I have got it wrong, where I have got it right and what I have missed.

By the way, I know I am on some people’s list too, as you will see if you want to see how it’s really done…

Tony Edward’s “Life in Solitary” column is expected to return later this month.

Share This Post

test 3 Responses to Opinion: I Have a Little List…

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    January 3, 2021 at 5:58 pm

    My answers are respectively (in italics):

    Plastic labels on fruit
    Food-based inkjet printers;
    Plastic packaging
    Replace with brown paper;
    Junk mail
    Two letterboxes one like Banksy’s shredder;
    Diesel engines
    The Stirling engine;
    Tackle the causes of deprivation that require people to use food-banks
    More allotments;
    Ban party “whipping” in Parliament
    Criminalize all forms of flagellation;
    Introduce a form of proportional representation at all levels of government
    The lighter weight you are the fewer votes, fatty gets more votes;
    Replace the “road fund licence” with extra taxation on fuel
    So the return of the old road refund tax;
    Reduce the weight and size limits of road damaging HGVs
    So double the number of white vans;
    Perform a hugely popular last-minute U-turn on Solum’s hated plans for re-development of the railway station
    Compulsorarily purchase the site for a bus station;
    Devolve planning appeals to elected “Planning Commissioners” – one for each county
    Jobs for the boys?
    Devolve control of local taxation to local government
    No thank you – some councils overtaxed the poll tax because they could;
    Construct a contiguous cycle network for the whole Borough of Guildford
    Perhaps an integrated transport system as well for us non-cyclists;
    Charge an affordable amount for community/non-profit use of the Guildhall
    Better still let it out for free to community groups;
    Remove requirement for the Mayor of Guildford to be a sitting councillor
    Why have a Mayor?
    Make mandatory, free-to-view coverage of major sporting events
    Really?

  2. Amina Sahbegovic Reply

    January 4, 2021 at 8:10 am

    One of the best list I have read so far this year. Here’s to hoping some points get ticked off.

  3. Barry Williams Reply

    January 4, 2021 at 11:07 am

    In his “little list” Martin Giles wishes to reduce the weight and size limits of road damaging HGVs.

    Reducing road damage is a laudable aim and one on which we should press our local authorities and government bodies – but if you reduce truck size then you will only displace the load and will need even more truck and delivery van movements to take up that lost capacity.

    Recent thinking suggests the future lies with longer and heavier trucks and also longer and heavier trains, with the aim being an overall reduction of movements, traffic congestion and a reduction in emissions

    Your readers may be interested in the following websites – from which I have highlighted a few extracts:

    https://trans.info/en/after-success-of-longer-trailers-trial-uk-government-trials-trucks-with-48-ton-weight-limit-208330 Published Nov.2020 Trans Info.

    The Department for Transport (DfT) started a trial of longer semi-trailers (LSTs) for articulated goods vehicles back in January 2012. After nearly eight years, it has been found that adding two metres to trailers could save lorry drivers travelling millions of miles, cut emissions and boost hauliers’ productivity. In the past year alone, the 2,600 vehicles involved in the trial have saved 33.5 million miles and 48,000 tonnes of CO2 – the equivalent to taking over 20,000 cars off the road, according to the data published by DfT. The results also show the trailers were involved in fewer personal injury collisions compared with standard size HGVs. 48 ton HGVs are also being taken into consideration

    In addition, the Department for Transport is launching a further consultation on proposals to start a trial of slightly heavier HGVs on UK roads, which could see the maximum weight of some HGVs increase by an additional four tonnes, to 48 tonnes. The change suggested in the consultation would allow lorries to transport heavier containers direct to or from freight trains, helping to shift more cargo from road-only journeys onto rail, and therefore cutting emissions and congestion on our roads, further demonstrating the government’s commitment to make haulage more environmentally friendly.

    https://www.railfreight.com/railfreight/2020/12/17/uk-longer-freight-trains-for-longer-term-growth/?gdpr=accept Published Dec 2020. Rail Freight.com

    A number of UK freight services are temporarily increasing in length and weight in support of the economic recovery after the pandemic. The longest trains, running at 775m, are in-line with the planned ambition to make the UK network universally compliant with increased maximum capacity standards. Increasing overall train length does have significant economic and environmental benefits.

    There are well-publicised carbon savings to be had from encouraging more freight on to the rails, but there are other benefits too. According to Network Rail, there is a growing body of evidence that more efficient freight schedules improve air quality emissions. They say that recent analysis shows that idling trains emit 14-20 per cent more NOx and particulates than non-stop freight services.

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/777684/fom_rail_freight.pdf Published Feb. 2019 Government Office for Science

    One potential opportunity area identified is to use spare capacity on the passenger rail network at certain times of the day to transport goods. Particularly, this could have an impact on shipments into, out of and across urban areas where the challenges of last-mile logistics are greatest

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.