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Saturday, 5 January 2008

New dogs, old tricks, I see

For decades connoisseurs of municipal folly could confidently rely on the loopies at North London’s Camden council for a few laughs.
For 30-odd years these corrupt incompetent rogues managed to combine the highest taxes in Inner London with the most abysmal service. You could be sure they’d come up with something ludicrous and expensive at frequent intervals. In fact, as Tony Bliar long lived there, I've always wondered if their policies inspired his larger, national schemes of wasteful futility.
It was a bit of a worry, then, when last year the voters finally threw the Camden rascals out, giving the majority to the liberal-democrats. Where would we turn to for samples of urban idiocy?
What a relief, then, to see a string of expensive, pointless posters today round the corner from my modest offices in Newman Street. A splendid example of needless, irrelevant and ill-considered expenditure in the great Camden tradition. Perhaps they were initiated and designed by the council’s design consultants who are, for reasons only an astrologist could fathom, called Dogstar.
To explain why they are such a stupid idea, I should tell overseas readers that last year our Government in its eagerness to stop as many things as possible without starting anything apart from a catastrophic war, decided to ban smoking in public places.
To be fair, though, to even things out, they also introduced round the clock drinking, so what we lost in lung cancer we gained in cirrhosis of the liver and thuggish violence.
Anyhow, for months the proposed smoking ban was a big topic in the press, on TV, on the radio, amongst smokers, non-smokers – anyone alive and not deaf or blind with even the vaguest interest in what was happening in Britain knew about it.
What's more we not only all knew about it long before it happened - but afterwards, too. Its consequences have been debated ever since in the media, always desperate for something trivial rather than real news. Was it going to kill the restaurant or pub businesses? Was it fair? Would they extend it to everywhere? What would they ban next? Farting?
Anyhow, you get the idea. This was one of the most talked about domestic topics for ages.
Judge, then of my joy, to see these posters yesterday, months after the ban was introduced. One is reproduced above, glorious in its irrelevance and political correctness, down to the black model (Camden’s black population is about 4%, by the way).
If there is anyone who can tell me in what way this nonsense serves any purpose, save wasting time and money on asinine self-congratulation, please do.
I have no doubt that the buffoons who authorised it believed that it was "marketing" and would do a lot for their "brand". Stupid bastards.
As a fitting final touch part of this inane exercise has been funded by the national health service. This gives us all a tiny clue as to why that bloated wankocracy has failed to improve its service in the last decade despite having twice the budget it used to have. They pissed the money away on such irrelevant "initiatives".

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