Big stink

Politicians, football fans and people in general tend to care most about things that directly affect them.

Birmingham City fans are no exception and the team’s performance on the pitch is the major concern. A large group came to the George to discuss the club’s problems on 28 October 2014 following the 0-8 loss. About a dozen came to the follow-up meeting in December when results had improved.

In the 1850’s the River Thames was in a terrible state, with untreated sewage turning it brown and making it smell. For years, a lot was said but not much done until 1858. The hot summer that year made the stench so bad that the rooms nearest the river in the Houses of Parliament were unusable. That got the attention of the MPs and they passed a bill making it possible to upgrade the sewage system; it became law just eighteen days after it was introduced. If you are interested in the details, read The Great Stink of London by Stephen Halliday.

My experience of going behind bushes in a developing country has left me with a love of toilets that flush and are in rooms with doors. That’s why I am going to be at the Festival in Selly Oak Park tomorrow, Saturday, trying to publicise the plight of the 2.4 billion people in the world who don’t have toilets.  It isn’t something that directly affects us but it’s a scandal and we should be kicking up a big stink about it. If you are anywhere near Selly Oak Park tomorrow, come and say hello and let me tell you about toilet twinning.