Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Flushed with entitlement

More details have been emerging of events in Bretch Hill, where residents hijacked a lorry-load of water bottles sent in after the mains supply failed (see previous post), including the somewhat pointless headline:

'Banbury’s water supply nearly back on'

Thames Water have been criticised for failing to organise distribution properly - though it sounds as if the best research for the operation might have been to watch a few of Hollywood's offerings on transporting valuable cargo through bandit country.

It certainly sounds as if it was every man for himself once the driver had been stopped; according to an eye-witness, "There were people filling cars and vans with bottled water, and then coming back for more".

The total amount delivered in 24 hours equates to 47 litres for every household - surely enough for a family to survive, it would be riches beyond belief for the thousands globally who have to walk for miles to find clean drinking water (and who, moreover, don't have the option of abundant soft drinks available in the local shops).

So why the piratical assault on the emergency supplies? It turns out that, despite their novel notions of fair play, the inhabitants of Bretch Hill are mighty fastidious:

"You don't realise how much water you need to do everyday things. It takes three two-litre bottles just to flush the toilet."

Now I understand that flushing is not always optional, but the suspiciously exact match to the capacity of modern cisterns suggest that the speaker carefully topped up the plumbing to its full capacity with bottled water every time - meanwhile, I wonder what happened to his used washing and washing up water.

Would he, one wonders, be so profligate with clean drinking water had he had to buy it himself from the local shop like the intended recipients thwarted of their delivery? And isn't this just the perfect example of the attitude engendered by something for nothing?

3 comments:

  1. "And isn't this just the perfect example of the attitude engendered by something for nothing? "

    Indeed. I bet I could last at least a week if our water was cut off tomorrow and I was locked in the house, alhtough I might pong a bit by the end of it.

    Either way, I would never dream of hijacking the stuff.

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  2. "And isn't this just the perfect example of the attitude engendered by something for nothing?"

    It is. At campsites you see how much more careful folk are when they have to collect every drop.

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  3. "And isn't this just the perfect example of the attitude engendered by something for nothing?"

    Absolutely spot on!

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