Editorial note: If you have not yet read our mission statement above, please do so in order that you can put our blogs in context.
5 January 2015
Large swathes of Britain are reverting to the Dark Ages – literally.
Penny-pinching public deficit reduction fanatics in the UK’s tightfisted Tory government have warned municipal authorities to switch off their street lights to save money.
As a direct result of government cheese-paring, 75 % of local councils have cut back on street lighting, according to a survey highlighted by the opposition Labour Party.
Commenting in the London Guardian last month (22 December), Hilary Benn, Labour communities secretary, said: “Streetlights ensure that people are safe on our roads and feel safe walking home, especially at this time of year when the nights have drawn in.”
The survey claimed to show that a higher proportion of street lights were switched off or dimmed in boroughs controlled by the Tories rather than the Labour Party.
Nonetheless, not all Tory councillors, let alone Labour ones, are happy about having their parishes plunged into darkness. Tory councillors in Essex, for instance, have called for the lights to be turned on again. According to the Guardian report, they are backed by the local police, who are thought to have attributed a spate of burglaries to the reduction in street lighting.
However, the plea appears to have fallen on deaf ears so far as Tory communities secretary Eric Pickles is concerned. Referring to his support for the black-out, Pickles said: “I love it because I am economy-minded. It’s saving a phenomenal amount of money.”
Labour has countered by suggesting that money could still be saved if local authorities invested in new technology, such as installing LED (light-emitting diode) street lights, instead of eclipsing whole neighbourhoods.
Or perhaps it might be cheaper to go back to using gas lamps? After all, most of the benighted austerity measures imposed by this skinflint government hark back to the Victorian Age.
Still, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. Britain goes to the polls this May. It is the people’s chance to kick these Scrooges out of office.
You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts. For instance:
- Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)
- Partitocracy v. Democracy (20 July 2012)
- The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)
- Capitalism in practice (4 July 2012)
- Ladder (21 June 2012)
- A tale of two cities (1) (6 June 2012)
- A tale of two cities (2) (7 June 2012)
- Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)
Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.