Saturday, February 25, 2012

Over Unison’s dead body

The Daily Telegraph reports on government interest in a scheme to use the heat from crematoria to heat swimming pools or generate electricity. What a good idea, I think; it won’t make a dent in the country’s carbon footprint, of course, but it’s a start and will certainly save local councils a few useful thousands of pounds every year. Definitely, you would have thought, worth a try in this age of austerity measures and government cuts.

But about half of the way down, the following sentence intrudes, as if escaped from some other article:
Unison, the trade union, has previously described the cost-saving proposals as “sick and an insult to local residents”. 
After that, the article returns to the gushing tone it started in, although it does quote the leader of Redditch Council as saying that she recognised “some people might not like it”.

Well, call me Mr Slow-on-the-Uptake, but whilst I understand that people generally are a bit squeamish about dead bodies in general, I can’t work out what could possibly be objectionable. Who’s being insulted? Is there something sacred about the heat generated by incinerating a corpse? Something that makes it necessary for the heat to be allowed to ascend to the heavens? If it ever gets that far, of course; what happens if the fumes get sucked into the engines of a passing jet airliner, do we have to exorcise it? Treat the passengers and crew for trauma?

Do people’s souls perhaps get trapped in the heat and fumes? Will they be released from their mortal coils, eager to go to their eternal rest, only to discover that they are doomed to push turbines round for the rest of time? Will our swimming pools become haunted? Or contaminated somehow? Who’re you gonna call, Ghostbusters?

Anyhow, if anyone from Unison knows just what it is that is so insulting about the idea of using hot air to heat stuff, please do let me know.

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