Barrie Hudson column: Thanks Swindon - from your water guzzling friends in London (From Swindon Advertiser)
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Barrie Hudson column: Thanks Swindon - from your water guzzling friends in London
THAMES Water, you’ll have been delighted to learn, is planning on hiking our bills by £29 next year to cover the cost of a new sewer in London.
However, there’s a perfectly logical explanation.
The company says its business is set up so the entire customer base pays for infrastructure everywhere, and not just in their own back yards. Or to put it another way, because bill-payers outside Swindon pay for our sewers to be repaired, people in Swindon should have no complaints about having their bills increased to cover the £273m Thames Tideway Tunnel bill.
“Now it is the turn of the people of Swindon to pay,“ a company spokesman helpfully explained.
Well, that’s my mind put at rest, then, and I’m sure yours has been too. If Thames Water says it’s fair that everybody in Swindon should pay an extra £29 for something in London, we should all rest assured that the company has spent the equivalent of £29 for every local bill-payer on projects right here in Swindon.
As a member of the media, I’d like to apologise for doubting the company in the past. I used to think those frequent sewer collapses in this town, the ones that threaten businesses, cause gridlock and blight the lives of householders, happened because Thames Water’s network of pipes was thoroughly knackered.
I also used to think those pipes mostly stayed thoroughly knackered because Thames Water was too busy shovelling customers’ cash – well over a billion quid in profits in the last few years – into the hands of filthy-rich foreign owners.
Now I realise I’m nothing more than one of those lying journalists you’re always being told about, and I’ve seen the light. I’m sorry we’ve been untruthful. I now confess that just as politicians never fiddle their expenses and no celebrities are adulterous, cocaine-addled, criminal, hypocritical perverts, so big business has our best interests at heart and isn’t in the slightest bit greedy.
It’s obvious to me now that Thames Water’s pipes don’t collapse because they’re made of cracked Victorian pottery, cobwebs and spit. No, they collapse because they’re made of solid 24-carat gold, a notoriously soft metal.
In addition, those supposed sewage leaks in neighbourhoods across our town aren’t sewage leaks at all, but attempts by Thames Water to recreate the chocolate lake from Willy Wonka’s factory because they want us all to be happy.
Far from being resentful at paying for the capital’s new sewer, we should feel honoured. Indeed, we should be thinking what else we can do to help the generous citizens of London.
Perhaps we should hand over a large portion of the money we earn to help alleviate its huge social problems, for example, while not forgetting to pony up another big chunk to pay for the flash cars, flash suits and multi-million pound homes of the enormously wealthy people who inhabit the Square Mile and who wrecked the economy a while back.
And I don’t want to hear anybody pointing out that we already do this with our taxes. These needy people deserve more and they’d do the same for us – provided somebody alerted them to our existence.