Proof that hitting people ‘in the pocket’ works

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The supermarket plastic bag is one of the scourges of our time – they can be seen everywhere (literally) but are a strangely British issue. On the continent they were consigned to the pay to use corner of the checkout many years ago – consequently their use has fallen to almost zero over the channel.

20120722-213631.jpgProposals to ban or charge in the UK for bags is always met with cries of ‘it’s not fair’ – but in Wales they were brave enough to pass a law charging for the bags – and the result?

Supermarkets in Wales have reported reductions of up to 96% in the use of single-use plastic bags following the introduction of the 5p charge last October. The charge, which was introduced to cut waste, has also seen a big rise in the number of people using their own bags in shops and a surge in support for the scheme. The scheme covers all single-use bags, including paper ones.

Figures compiled by the British Retail Consortium show bag use at 13 retailers (including Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s) saw reductions of 70-96% for food retail, and 68-75% for fashion.

The number of Welsh people always taking their own bags to the supermarket rose from 42% before the charge to 64% after, according to a survey of 1,000 people by the Welsh government. The survey also showed support for the charge had risen since its introduction, with the number “strongly supporting” it rising from 35% before to 49% after.

Ireland introduced a plastic bag tax in 2002, Northern Ireland is set to bring in a 5p charge in 2013 and last month Scotland opened a consultation on a proposed minimum charge of 5p which, if adopted, would leave England as the only country in the UK without one.

Last week, new figures showed Welsh households recycle almost half their waste – putting the country well ahead of England, where the average recycling rate is around 40%.

Isn’t it time that we adopted this approach as well? Or are we just interested in longer opening hours?

Spain is so clean!

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One of the things we have all noticed about our holiday destination is just how clean it is!

Every morning in Barcelona when I was out to get our breakfast croissant I passed street cleaners collecting leaves and rubbish – by hand brush and bag, not with big vacuum cleaners.

It was also very apparent that the Spanish don’t share the British ‘gum dropping’ problem. Their streets are clear of any gum (and it’s not because they clean it up – they don’t drop it). There appears to be real ‘civic pride’ here in Spain, and it makes a big difference to the overall ‘feel’ to the country.

As I sit here reading up on the recent events in the UK, and more importantly the comments from politicians about why they believe the riots occurred, I can’t help thinking that we don’t care much for our country or how it looks. All part of a much bigger underlying problem?

The Beautiful Game?

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I cannot claim to be a football fan, I don’t follow a team or go regularly to watch football, so perhaps my comments here don’t count? I am one of the cynics who believes that there is too much money in the sport, the players are over paid and most importantly view playing for their country more as a job – than an honour.

Colleagues at work are always telling me that this is the ‘beautiful’ game, the one to watch to see magical things done with a football. I agree that when you see top class players at their peak it is wonderful, for that reason I will sit and watch many of the World Cup matches – because they are likely to be ‘special’.

However last night was probably the worst game England have played in years (not my words – the TV pundits). I will always bore my colleagues at work with my un-educated view that the players are over paid and don’t have that ‘fire in their belly’ they need to win. Well un-educated or not I think I was proved right last night!

After the first England game my daughter asked me why did all the other teams sing along to their national anthem and look proud, but England didn’t? My answer – I don’t know, but you would have thought they would be proud to be there wouldn’t you?


Last night they really did not look as if they cared, plus Rooney’s comment at the end of the match;

“Nice to see your own fans booing you, that’s what loyal support is”.

was perhaps not the best thing to say in the circumstances!

However, at least it shows he cares – albeit possibly more about his poor performance than the result? Rooney was still trending this morning on Twitter – and most of the comments are negative towards Rooney and the team. Possibly well earn’t, if you put yourself on a pedestal you can expect to get knocked off once in a while. The multi million pound salaries don’t come for free.

The players are seen by our kids as role models, sometimes I don’t think they realise this, or take it seriously. It’s time to stand up and be counted boys!

So, lick your wounds and come out on Wednesday as if you mean it!

England always do it the hard way, so we shouldn’t be surprised, they will get through…….

UPDATE 19.06.10

Wayne Rooney has apologised to his fans – good man! He said the following;

“I said things in the heat of the moment out of frustration of our performance and the result,”
“For my part I apologise for any offence caused by my actions.”

Let’s hope this is the start of the ‘New England’ for Wednesday’s game!