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Bomb plots and bins

Matt Morris | 10:10 UK time, Wednesday, 2 May 2007

The jury in the trial of seven men accused of a bomb plot returned their verdicts towards the end of Monday morning - a big breaking story that Five Live, like the rest of the BBC, had been planning for.

Radio Five Live logoBut we had other plans which were also coming to fruition on Monday morning - a live outside broadcast, presented by Simon Mayo, on the big topic of refuse collection. We were in Grantham in Lincolnshire, where the South Kesteven council is introducing fortnightly collection of household waste.

The broadcast was due to be on air at noon, and to last an hour, and we'd assembled a strong and well-informed panel and an audience who were well up for it.

There is no doubt that bins rouse passions - among young and old, rich and poor, families and singletons. Simon had just done his bins trail, into Richard Bacon's morning programme, when the verdicts started to come in.

Andrew Hosken went live on Five Live to report the news that five men had been found guilty and to set the ball rolling on coverage of a story that was to dominate the news for many hours to come.

bins152.jpgBut what about the bins programme? The timing could in fact have been much worse. Andrew was able to get the main story on air, and we managed to tell the backstory about the links to 7 July, well before noon. We had Patrick Mercer on live, and John Reid's initial statement came in on time too. All the while the clock ticked towards noon. Simon and Five Live's audience editor, Lou Birt, warmed up the Grantham audience. I don't quite know why but an image of Gary Cooper popped into my head and I started humming, tunelessly, "Do not forsake me, oh my darling..."

Simon orchestrated a really lively debate (which you can listen to here). People are really angry about bins - it's not all a figment of the Daily Mail's imagination. At half past noon we broke off the debate to return to London to hear from Peter Clarke, from the CPS, and from Danny Shaw as the Crevice story rolled on.

We'd got away with it. If the verdicts had come in half an hour later, we might have been faced with putting the bins debate back an hour - with an impatient audience getting restless and increasingly in need of their lunch.

On the way back to London I heard Jenny Seagrove interviewed by Phil Williams (who was deputising in Simon's normal afternoon slot). Ms Seagrove told Phil how her partner Bill Kenwright had converted her into an Everton supporter, and congratulated him on his intelligent handling of the continuing updates of the terror trial. A woman of sound judgement, except for the bit about Everton.


  • 1.
  • At 02:21 PM on 02 May 2007,
  • spursfan wrote:

The line "fortnightly collection of household waste" on its own paints an incomplete picture - it is not the case that there will only be a single collection each fortnight

What I think is happening is that instead of a household waste collection each week there will now be alternate fortnightly collections of household waste and recycling (and no surprise that introduction of the forced recycling collection each fortnight helps councils achieve their New-Labour targets)

  • 2.
  • At 05:08 PM on 02 May 2007,
  • Michael McFarlane wrote:


Re the trial of seven men on Bomb plot charges. The fact that the jury took almost seven weeks to reach a verdict, implies serious differences of opinions. The high imprisonment sentences, more severe than most given in murder cases, would I thought have raised some serious debate from some of our major political journalists. I also think the notion of fortnightly bin collections is a complete nonsense intended to keep our attentions occupied while something else is happening. Everyone knows the increased levels of disease and vermin activity would be impossible to avoid, so why is this matter being afforded any attention from the media?. It cannot and will not ever happen, no matter what the accountants or the career public servants with higher personal ambitions might think.

  • 3.
  • At 08:26 PM on 02 May 2007,
  • name wrote:

Why does the BBC constantly feel the need to throw in jabs at the Daily Mail?

  • 4.
  • At 10:12 PM on 02 May 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

So you think its funny to compare bombs and bins? Both start with the letter B.

I guess its also BBC policy to equate bomb threats and refuse collection.

Rubbish bins are a popular topic that make people "really angry" -- and you don't have to mention members of the public being killed by suicide bombers, even though you lead with "Bomb plots..."

Puts it all in perspective and proves that bins are where its all at. Scary bins.....

I can't imagine anything more tedious than Five Live's Refuse and Household Waste Hour.

I'd much rather have had a lively (and in this case, highly relevant) debate about terrorism and homeland security, despite the topic's current clichéd overuse.

A debate about bins on Five Live? What a load of rubbish.

  • 6.
  • At 09:03 AM on 03 May 2007,
  • PeeVeeAh wrote:

Just dealing with the broader health issues of fortnightly refuse collection: I'm a severely visually impaired (aka 'blind') pedestrian. My own borough remains with weekly collection, although the writing is on the wall. :-/

When walking into town - in an adjacent borough - I pass Victorian housing - mostly with short- or no-frontaged terraces - and find the obstruction caused by the huge 'fortnightly' wheely bins is appalling! Goodness knows how wheelchair uesers cope! Clearly, with weekly collections, bins are largely portable and so can be carried through from the rear of the property. It's a bizarre regression to see the streets full of garbage again - whether inside polymeric obelisks or not! - and it smacks of the ignorance of earlier generations.

But alas, it will take a plague to prove the folly. :-/

The article that was linked-to suggested that the saving of the change from weekly to fortnightly was of the order £22 million. That's national peanuts! One Euromillions win! How much of that sum would in fact be wages for otherwise less-employable folk? Woohoo! What an holistic stroke-of-genius?

I think not!

  • 7.
  • At 10:14 AM on 03 May 2007,
  • John, Devon wrote:

The idea behind the alternating collection system is in principle a good one if it leads to more recycling, as seems to be the case. And we clearly do need to cut down on landfill - no-one wants the countryside to be full of tips.

But we should cut down on packaging before we enforce a change. Supermarkets are grossly irresponsible the way they over-package and hand out plastic bags like confetti. And some people seem to delight in creating waste in order to get value for money from their council tax!

Personally I have no problem with our local alternating landfill and recycling collections - I live alone and can keep black bags in the wheelie bin while waiting for these to be collected.

But for large families and people who live in cramped locations the system does present difficulties.

  • 8.
  • At 11:16 AM on 03 May 2007,
  • AJS wrote:

If you can fill a wheelie bin in four weeks, never mind two, you're throwing away too much.

  • 9.
  • At 02:12 PM on 03 May 2007,
  • Alex Swanson wrote:

"it's not all a figment of the Daily Mail's imagination."

I wonder if you would have made such a disparaging comment if it had been any other paper.

  • 10.
  • At 07:45 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Paul Wright wrote:

You really do have it in for the Daily Mail up in your ivory tower don't you, BBC?

Strange how you never see any digs about the Guardian.

Not that this matters, nothing I say ever gets published.

  • 11.
  • At 10:33 AM on 04 May 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

Personally I'd have no problem if our local council decided to only empty our wheely bin every fortnight - between my wife and I we only produce about one black bagfull of rubbish every two weeks anyway. But if they cut down our recycling collection to once a fortnight - that would be a real problem. We fill two boxes-worth every week as it is - if they only collected once a fortnight we would actually be inclined to recycle less, not more.

  • 12.
  • At 10:04 AM on 09 May 2007,
  • gore wrote:

Those who can make you believe in absurdities (a rambling discussion about bins is more important than an in-depth investigation into bombers) - can make you commit atrocities (turn a blind eye to deadly and aggressive foreign policy enacted with your tax money)- after Voltaire.

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