‘Sadly, the world is filled with apathy,’ said my friend, as we looked at our sad little list of conscripts to the cause of fighting left-wing lunacy in our local neighbourhood. He’s right. But I can’t help feeling, as I enter another year of what will surely turn out to be non-stop trouble, that a bit of apathy would do me good.
My problem is I suffer from the reverse of apathy. I’m too bothered by everything. I can’t stop objecting. I need to sit back and learn how not to give a damn. The apathetic masses must have much lower blood pressure than me. And a lot more friends. When I look back on 2015 it was one tiresome principled stand after another.
I took a stand against house-building on the green belt. I took a stand against HS2. I took a stand against my friends sneaking down the pub with the ex-builder boyfriend, the dubious result of which was that whereas before they drank discreetly with my ex behind my back, now most of them don’t speak to me at all. Apparently, it’s just easier that way. Forced by my fit of pique to choose between me and the ex, the jovial builder won hands down.
No more principled stands, I resolved, as the new year beckoned. And then my friend and neighbour — the only other living Tory in Lambeth — pleaded with me to help him fight a proposal to build a late-night toilet block for the socially excluded on Tooting Common.
Now, I’m not sure I know what social exclusion is any more, never mind a toilet block aimed at relieving it. I feel socially excluded most of the time, on account of the aforementioned Judas friends — not that I’m bitter about it (may they roast in the fires of hell) — but even so, I’m pretty sure that being able to go to the loo in the park at night wouldn’t make me feel any better.
The Tooting Honey Toilets, as I am calling them, are the brainchild of local Labour and Green party activists who formed a steering committee and won Heritage Lottery Funding to turn a disused cricket pavilion on Tooting Common into ...oh, goodness knows what.
I’ve read the 31-page proposal and as far as I can make out, the pavilion is to become a community centre with en suite micro-Eden Project that will somehow solve every social, environmental and economic problem in Britain. (Needless to say, we couldn’t just have a café.)
Specifically, it will include London’s first ever underprivileged toilet block, open until midnight and staffed by volunteers to help people who, er, don’t have a toilet and happen to be wandering through the unlit environs of Tooting Common carrying their proof of eligibility for benefits card on them.
But it doesn’t end there, because around this socially dynamic lavatorial opportunity will be sited a peace garden, a ‘multi-use grass area’ (I think that’s a field), a community ‘growing space’ and, last but not least, just what you always wanted outside a late-night toilet block in a park ...No, not a police watchtower ...Bee hives.
Yes, that’s right. But this is not totally unexpected. If you haven’t already noticed, the newly resurgent hard left has quite a thing for honey. In a recent interview, Jeremy Corbyn called for us to become a nation of beekeepers, with every new home built having a garden large enough for an apiary.
I think I understand this. The vegan left do not like reality. They despise the vile, murdering countryside. And so beekeeping encapsulates for them a town-based utopian ideal of food production. Why, the bees enjoy it!
The Tooting Honey Toilets will have honesty boxes, enhancing the Arcadian feel by ensuring there is no nasty commerce involved. Visitors will simply pay for their honey if they feel like it — even though, as any fool from the countryside could have told them, there are no flowers anywhere near and so nothing for the bees to make honey with.
My guess is that the bees will all be in a foul mood and sting the backside of any unsuspecting soul who stops there to have a socially excluded pee.
Meanwhile, the artist who currently lives in the pavilion and acts as a caretaker (which, it goes without saying, is a system that works perfectly) is going to be evicted. Presumably, once they have made him homeless and he is sleeping rough beneath the trees he will at least qualify to use the loo, if he can get past the angry bees.
It is a barmy glimpse into what Britain will look like if this lot ever get the chance to try to run anything on a wider scale. But, of course, most people will be too apathetic to mind.