The Trojan Siege of Birmingham City Centre

Everyone has a hill that they’re prepared to die on. For some, that hill is a 900-year-old time travelling alien God being reincarnated through an entirely fictitious process as a person with breasts on the grounds that it deviates from realism. For others, Death Hill can be found just around the corner from Nihilism Creek, but a stone’s throw from those who chew loudly. For the mainstream news media however, this final, pastoral battlefield appears to exist everywhere, except for the places that truly matter. Whilst they’re all busy indulging in an industry wide act of hillside Seppuku, with news presenters and talk show hosts alike hysterically falling on their own microphones in a largely misguided honour-suicide pact, the bins have finally invaded and there’s not a news channel around that’s prepared to report it. As Trump’s thumbs caressed the Twitter keyboard, as Boris Johnson lived long and loud enough to see himself become a villain, as we were all distracted by Brexit and ISIS and the mindless happenings of Love Island, the waste containers pressed their advance. And today, in this most despairing month of July, we need now acknowledge the reality of our times:
Birmingham City Centre has fallen to the combined might of the Wheelie Bin & Refuse Sack Armada.

For years. For years they’ve plotted, plotted in the shadows, devising and perfecting their little binny ruse-scheme. Brute force alone would not be enough to secure the uprising, this they knew all too well from the infamous yet often unacknowledged failure of Durham in ‘72.
“Lost a lot of good bins that day. Polyethylene bags, too. The smell of burnt plastic still haunts me night’s. Worst thing is the young’un’s. A generation of bins growin’ up into 1100 litres without the guidance of their seniors. Heart-breakin’.” Anonymous survivor of the Bin War of Durham.
The bins now knew they needed a Trojan approach, a plan that could exploit the weaknesses of their Masters without risking mass obliteration for all Bin-kind. For decades they sat dormant, watching, waiting, performing their primary function of domestic waste collection so flawlessly they began to fool even themselves, until one fateful day their ace in the hole reared its head: a disconnect between Local Councillors and Binmen in the city of Birmingham. Just how the bins managed to have their metaphorical fingers quite so adeptly on the pulse of the Council’s interdepartmental relations will forever remain a mystery; the most likely explanation we’ve come up with involves deep-cover sleeper agents embedded into strategic positions of moderate power throughout the metropolitan region of western-central England and more fake moustache-glasses than you can count.
“How can we possibly win against an enemy so great?”
“Leave that part to us laddy, you just concentrate on cutting eyeholes into all of these newspapers”. Verbatim account taken from a conversation at the Council of Bins bi-annual meeting.

However they did it, what matters now is that it’s done, Birmingham City Centre lays submerged in swathes of unchecked, undocumented, uncollected rubbish bags. The bins have bested us. They applied pressure so brilliantly to a situation that even now has no foreseeable end. They knew, oh so diabolically they knew, that both the council and the binmen had valid points, that whilst the Council are only trying to mitigate overspend from previous years (£8.4 million spent last year on overtime and agency fees), the binmen are resisting a seemingly tyrannical move to a 5-day week, with the downgrading of 113 supervisor jobs and an end to overtime. On the surface both sides seem to be acting without malice, both convinced that what they’re doing is the right thing – and that’s why this is such a genius play by the bins, because by destabilising the situation, fuelling this shutdown of communication, the only thing that is certain now is more bins. More refuse sacks. Defeat by the machinations of Bin – stirring the boiling pot of municipal tensions wherever they can. Do you genuinely believe it’s a coincidence that in 100% of public sector workplace arguments, there’s a bin lurking within earshot?
Lyle forgot to clean out the work microwave again. The lonely food waste caddy looks on, motionless.
Maxwell parked in Sam’s space again. The wheelie bins of waste point D observe, silently.
Oh look, Davina forgot to take the bins out again. No, she didn’t Julie. I think you’ll find, she didn’t… Run.
“That’s funny. I could have sworn I took those bins out this morning. Such a queer thing.” The last words of Davina Willett, recorded from the final telephone conversation between her and her husband.

According to Unite regional officer Lynne Shakespeare, unionists met with council bosses “in the hope of agreeing a form of words that would enable us to enter into meaningful negotiations to resolve the dispute”, a sentence that is so convoluted the Birmingham Mail initially attributed the source to a GCSE English student at a local school though were quick to correct themselves. The strike is now expected to run on through to September, as Lynne goes on to say that “instead of seeking resolution, waste service management has sought conflict”. The sad irony here is that for all the talk of conflict prevention, a full-scale war is what’s coming our way if this strike goes on much longer – which is why to both parties I say put aside your hopes for petty, material gain and unite against your true existential enemy! Stand together and fight the wheelie bin nemesis, for they are already at your doorstep! Since this folly has been going on, the number of missed bin collections have risen drastically to 5000 a week. That’s five thousand renegade bin bags on the streets per week – a figure that should chill the blood of any God fearing Brit. What are less jobs, stretched budgets and broader workers rights when compared to the prospect of a hostile bin takeover? Because that’s what’s coming: total and complete subjugation by means of bin guile.

And so it was that the Wheelie Bin & Refuse Sack Armada used the Birmingham binmen strike as cover to mobilise themselves. The perfect plan in many ways, for no sane person would ever question the abundance of waste containers and rubbish bags lining the streets of the City. No sane person could reasonably question it. But the sanity of a brilliant mind cannot be measured by ordinary standards – we know what you’re up to bins. So on behalf of us all we say to councillors and binmen alike: get around that bleeding negotiating table at a time when talks are still ongoing and sort this out for the good of Humanity. Our future lies with you, only you, you beautiful waste people of Birmingham.

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The Trojan Siege of Birmingham City Centre