I’ve written before about how proud I was in 2015 to speak to the Conservatives’ Irish sister party, as someone that’s half-Irish.
The other half of my ancestry is Syro-Lebanese, so I was all too delighted to be asked to give a lecture to the Conservatives’ Lebanese sister party, Lebanese Forces earlier this week.
I know what you’re thinking – the political parallels between the UK and Ireland are pretty obvious, but Lebanon? Well, like in Camden, the biggest issue in Beirut – by a country mile – is rubbish collection.
It hasn’t always been this way. In fact, until very recently, these ‘ordinary’ problems were, like in Northern Ireland, a relatively minor party of political discourse, which was primarily dominated by sectional and sectarian politics.
This has been swept aside, at least partly, by the rivers of rubbish that lined the Paris of the Middle East’s streets for much of last year.
Ok, so we’re not at ‘rivers of rubbish’ levels in Camden, but I’ve always found it useful to discuss political communication and strategy with politicians from around the world, whether they’re from the United States or Norway, Moldova or St Lucia.
One thing that I noticed when researching the issue was that, despite the overwhelming crisis, just 1% of Beirut’s population has signed up for a free recycling service. One percent! So much for the idea that you can force people to recycle just by letting rubbish pile up.
For more about my campaign to restore weekly bin collections, click here.