Thinker's Corner

Creating Wealth from Waste by Robin Murray (Demos, Panton House, 25 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4EN, 0171-321 2200, £11.95) The Blairite think-tank Demos has its finger on the pulse of politics. Is it Kosovo or Northern Ireland? No. It's incinerators. The report is a critique of the current government's policy on waste, soon to be outlined in the government's waste strategy, published next month. In criticising the government's over-dependence on hazardous waste-burning incinerators, Murray points out that Britain's two main incinerators rank among our worst air-polluters. The government is planning to build another 55 to 170. The report also castigates the government's record on recycling - just 8 per cent of household waste is recycled. Murray's is a zero waste strategy, similar to those adopted in California, Australia and Canada: local intensive recycling programmes, markets for secondary materials and new forms of public/private partnerships. The eventual aim is for zero waste - or 100 per cent recycling. Such an approach would also, Murray claims, reduce risks and, eventually, save money. For eco-warriors and anyone who takes an interest in the environment, it's worth having a look at.

Sporting Lives - a vision for sport in the UK (Institute for Public Policy Research, 30-32 Southampton Street, London WC2E 7RA, 0171-470 6100, £6.50) by Jim Godfrey and Gerald Holtham identifies sport as a powerful force within national life that can increase the UK's prestige, foster social cohesion and promote a general feel-good factor. Godfrey and Holtham propose a reduction in the number of sports supported by the state, the promotion of competitive sports in schools and a high-level shake-up of sport's governing bodies, with a focus on increased professionalism, strict target-setting and prudent financial management. These measures are all part of their ten-year plan to increase levels of popular participation and improve Britain's record in international competition.

This article first appeared in Were chimps the first socialists?

1999-07-12