Do you remember when .....
You'd wake up in the morning and find the post on the doormat, the newspaper in the letterbox and the milk on the doorstep?
If you do, you're probably in your forties like me. In those days, "identity fraud" was one of Mike Yarwood's dodgier impressions. The idea that people could - or even would - snoop around your rubbish bins trying to find bits of paper which would allow them to steal from you without you even knowing it just didn't exist. It wasn't really likely either as you didn't have to leave your rubbish bags on the street; the bin men would collect your bin from wherever you left it - which, in our case, was around the side of the house next to the coal bunker - and return it emptied.
These days we have to shred every little thing that references your personal details - and with the amount of junk we get shoved through our letterbox (usually around lunch time these days) - that's a lot of stuff. Credit card and loan application forms arrive with your name and address pre-printed. The phone bill arrives with an almighty thud these days, crammed full of junk offers - all with your details all over them. More work for the shredder.
Even emptying my wallet involves removing credit and debit card slips and adding them to the pile for shredding. I now spend around half a day a week just shredding paper.
When it comes to worrying about people snooping in our rubbish, though, it's not just thieves and criminals we have to watch out for. Now councils employ people to legally search through our bins looking for "evidence" that we're not obeying their latest barmy edict on recycling. By the time I've shredded my junk mail, washed out my bottles and jars, separated the card and paper from the plastic and put the whole bloody lot out on the street waiting for collection, half my weekend has gone. And then, if the bin men don't turn up on Monday morning I'll be the one who gets fined a £1000!
The idea behind having a government was that they would provide the services that the community wanted. Central government ensured national security and local government made sure our rubbish was taken away and we didn't suffer infestations of rats. Not any more. Central government has given up on national security and now muddles in our personal and private lives endlessly, while local government expect us to do half the job we pay them to do ourselves - and rather than employ people to do the job properly in the first place, they employ people to check that we're doing as we're told.
Government no longer serves the people, we are all servants of the state.
And they call this progress?