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Regeneration of Bournemouth - and any other settlement in similar straits
Bristol has Banksy. Bournemouth has Prolapze.
I've had a few ideas for the renewal of Bournemouth and anywhere else in a similar plight. It will involve council spending but the payoff will be improved quality of life, increased house prices all round, increased tourism, influx of business, and so on:Ignorance is Caninebliss
# Patch up all derelict / damaged shops as a matter of course - don't wait for issues to crop up (e.g. vermin). Regularly check for disrepair and dereliction, and make compulsory purchase orders if the legal owner doesn't co-operate.
# Pull down the decaying housing (e.g. Christchurch Road, Holdenhurst Road) and build flats - why are coastal towns so run down?
# Encourage health and beauty and the alternative arts scene, by sponsoring / helping to set up scores of key businesses / classes, e.g.:
- Nightclubs with open air events too
- Sponsor arts events, exhibitions, festivals, and concerts (make sure there's something big going on every week without exception)
- Billboards advertising culture e.g. art galleries, free arts events, etc.
- Radio stations promoting the arts. Revenue would of course come from advertising. Also create a mobile app for the radio station.
- Visual art classes (thank you Living Well Bournemouth)
- Art galleries
- Classes at martial arts academies and gyms, plus yoga / meditation / Pilates / aerobics classes - all on the NHS? To improve overall fitness and wellbeing, nothing more.
- Marine activities inc. sailing and surfing (currently there's not really much in terms of actual water sports in Bournemouth, for example, when there could be much, much more going on - e.g. day yacht trips out to sea, starting in Dorset, ending in the Isle of Wight, Brighton, etc., maybe returning on the same day or after an overnight stay)
- Language schools where people can learn English - perhaps in exchange for another language? Could help the international vibe.
# Expand the local university, improve its facilities, perhaps add another university, all in order to make Bournemouth into more of a university town with a bourgeoning young population - to add vibrancy to the area and its visionary aspect (i.e. the creative arts scene)
# Commission some stylish landmark buildings. Perhaps copy famous projects elsewhere, e.g. modern curvy / wave-shaped buildings, trilithon- or H-shaped buildings with an horizontal bridge, or a very high viewing tower with a rotating restaurant! Bournemouth, as a case in point, isn't very futuristic.
# Pull down anything that blights skyline, making certain that it would have always looked bad even with planned new developments. Skyline is the first thing you see as you arrive, and the last thing you see as you leave.
# Intensify efforts to keep the town free of litter and decay - including more bins (not the unhygienic sort that requires one to pull a handle to open the bin - a public bin should be contactless), active pursuit of litterbugs and dog foulers, and enforcing the spontaneous cleanup of overgrown spaces and dumped rubbish, by the land owners or the Council.
# Rid the town of heroin addicts (plain and simple they commit half of all robberies) and schizophrenics (they have uncontrollable rage that too often gets projected onto unlucky passersby or fellow bus passengers - schizophrenics need to be medicated and kept under observation until their symptoms are manageable, and even then, they must be returned to the asylum if they return to their bad old ways, rather than being mollycoddled and reinforced in their errant behaviours). "Care in the community" is a failed policy.
# Extra policing on the streets
Alcohol, heroin, schizophrenia and dog faeces are the bane of British towns. For that matter, there is a particularly destructive drug that is legal, and somewhat encouraged as a social norm. It turns any settlement into a toilet - literally. I speak of Caninebliss, a word l coined for an antisocial form of dog ownership - that is, ownership of dogs as pets. It is parallel to other forms of popular, legal sociopathy, e.g. mobile phone bliss (jaywallking / driving while using a mobile device), widened noisy car exhaust bliss, and unsilenced noisy motorbike bliss. Unlike those forms of sociopathy, Caninebliss generalises to any form of recreational dog ownership - merely owning a pet dog puts a person on the Caninebliss Highway. In a decaying society, Caninebliss becomes the norm. The local badlad might buy a status dog, and his followers / rivals / anybody that lives in fear of the badlad then follow suit. A lonely individual might buy a dog / several dogs for company, because nobody else will befriend that person and keep them company (e.g. villanous dropouts from London, depleted football hooligans, typically disgruntled middle-aged bachelors priced out by gentrification and outdone by a younger generation of thugs, thus retiring to more affordable coastal backwaters). Also there are those with back and knee problems and even cyclists, who walk the dog and don't, won't, can't pick up the mess when the dog fouls. Dog owners quickly become blind to the nuisance of their own and other people's dogs. The result: innately dirty, dangerous, careless, uninhibited, free-roaming, semi-wild animals with oblivious owners, a downward spiral of regressive behaviour, degeneracy, recklessness. This is similar to the downward spiral of fanatics and drug addicts who flaunt their habits increasingly brazenly and feed into the attendant "slimelight" lifestyle as time progresses, smoking cannabis at work, injecting heroin before they've even reached home, etc. According to one Hansard debate (from the early 1990s or 1980s - l guess l'll have to retrace it), dog owners well into the 1980s would push their dogs out through the door in the morning then go off to work, leaving the dogs to roam the streets: every degeneracy becomes normal to recreational dog owners, until they are forced off Caninebliss via legislation. Until then, give them an inch, they'll take a mile. Take an inch, they'll foul online comments forums of newspapers, bark, snarl, bay, and howl for your blood all night and all day, every day, every week, every month (even posting dog faeces to a woman who campaigned for stricter controls on dogs after her young daughter was mauled to death by one). This is Broken Britain. Imagine a rough area where all dogowners swap their dogs for cats one night. It would become a decent area, on the mend, literally overnight. How would it not?
Rigours of Caninebliss detailed:
- Dogs on buses cause a lingering rotten "dog smell", and the smell of urine and probably sometimes even faeces (glad to say, l've not known the latter on a bus - although the M2 in Bournemouth once had to abort a round, l'm told because of faeces on a seat). Dogs on buses and in cafes / takeaways cause a flea and tick problem and are a health hazard which is inexplicably overlooked by the law (a single dog will produce more bacteria in one day than a person, a horse and a cow combined). The obligatory Staffie in a crowded space causes terror, e.g. on a bus or in a cafe, with people being too afraid to even show fear because the dogs pick up on that. Dogs may be banned from seats on public transport, but this is rarely obeyed, and never enforced.
- Dogs will leave fleas and ticks where they have been sitting - be it on buses or in cosy corners of pubs and takeaways. Those fleas and ticks transfer to other people.
- Dog owners literally use the beach as a dog toilet, the tide being the flush. Worse, they get optimistic about how far the tide reaches. Or they just bury the faeces in the sand (a la litter trays for cats), job done.
- Dog faeces are sort of like human faeces, except that dog faeces are sometimes larger, sometimes smaller, and eminently more toxic than human faeces (check out www.mrdogpoop.com/howbadispoop.html - dog faeces have zero use as fertiliser, and even if your dog only excretes in the backyard, the dog will fill your home with bacteria, dog faeces are third on the list of contributors to contaminated water, dog faeces attract rats that feed on undigested protein). There is a national emergency with dog fouling in public spaces such as pavements, roads (yes, actual roadways - visit Boscombe!), beaches, beauty spots, anywhere and everywhere (on a gorgeous spring day in 2017, l walked from Southbourne to Highcliff, and found a brook somewhere in Somerford or Highcliff; a man with a Staffie waded across, pausing to let his Staffie defaecate directly into the brook, which was too shallow to even submerge the faeces, and of course the Staffie was barking and straining at the leash, wanting a piece of me). Lamentably, dog faeces are to be found along the pavements of British towns and cities every 30 metres or so, whereas human faeces are not.
- Dog urine and diarrhoea cannot be picked up. Picking up dog faeces doesn't even clear the area of dog faeces, and even if it did, what about the countless other owners that do not - will not - cannot - pick up their dog faeces? What about the disgusting stench and germs from public bins full of dog faeces? Live and let live. Let the rest of us live. Your dog, your problem. There is dog fouling on Boscombe Pier itself, and l've even seen urine around a concrete pillar within the Sovereign Shopping Centre in Boscombe - presumably a dog's.
- Dog faeces cause the beach and cliffs to become infested with rats that feed on the protein in the faeces - it's not just the posh Sandbanks area of Poole that has been desecrated by rats, it's the entire seaside including the beach. The cliff walkways of Bournemouth are covered in dog faeces, and thus they are infested with rats, and snakes to eat the rats and carrion birds to eat both rats and snakes, and foxes to eat the lot. At least foxes are cute.
- Dog owners frequently dump bags of dog faeces on the ground (Boscombe's Finest, Springbourne Asphalt, the Pokesdown Loaf, Southbourne Tender). Let me point out that using a stick to fling the faeces into a bush, is not a solution either (as per one ridiculous Parliamentary debate l've read), as the dog faeces are highly toxic, and it hardly clears up the dog mess does it? The dog mess is still partly on the ground, and now also partly infecting the wildlife in the hedgerows, which are endangered anyway due to the pressures of modernity, reducing the land area covered by hedgerows.
- Dog faeces have poisoned and killed horses / ponies that have eaten bags of it tossed into their paddock, on at least two separate reported occasions. Doubtless dog faeces are poisoning other wildlife too.
- In the UK beween 2005 and 2014 hospitals recorded a 76% increase in dog attacks, corresponding with the exemption of Staffordshire Terriers ("Staffies") from the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, despite them being Pitbulls.
- Dogs go off-leash and unmuzzled on the beaches (this is perfectly legal on most Bournemouth beaches in summer, and on pretty much all beaches in winter, but check your local information first).
- Dogs off-leash anywhere and everywhere, no matter what - including parks where children play, busy concourses, and even sat right in the entrance of shops and supermarkets (yes, off leash, with the owner gone shopping inside). Very often the owner will delight in the fear roused in passers-by when they strut the street with a status dog (a bully breed / Molosser / mastiff, e.g. Staffie, Rottweiler, Boxer). People fear to be in beauty spots because of the obligatory dog off-leash and the unforseen life-changing dog attack. Tourism dies.
- Dogs get left in the doorways of shops and even supermarkets, right in the doorways, often without even a leash. I have actually been told by a dog owner that left his Staffie in a shop doorway, to step over - pass directly over - his restless Staffie. The dog wasn't even tied to anything, and was positioned square in the narrow doorway - restlessly entering and exiting the actual shop.
- Dogs are always let loose in forests and anywhere near the beach, even on roads close to the beach. Dogs have repeatedly attacked an alpaca farm in the New Forest, giving the alpha male alpaca a long slow death spanning a couple of weeks (in the Bournemouth Echo online comments section for the story, one sociopathic doglover asked why the alpaca was in England).
- If a dog gets out of control on a bus, what will the bus driver actually do? Nothing. The driver probably enjoys Caninebliss too when he gets home, hence anything goes.
- Dogs may escape their owners' premises by jumping / scaling boundary fences. Most dogs can easy surpass a 6ft fence if they so willed - especially bigger dogs.
- Dogs present an innate danger of physical harm to humans - regardless of good training or abusive rearing. Invasion of personal space is default behaviour for all dogs. Even when leashed, there is always the threat that the dog may break free of the owner's control, or the owner may maliciously set the dog loose or allow it to bite (the neat trick some owners use is to press a button to allow their dog leash to extend when they wish to put the jitters up a passerby). With some popular dog breeds, it would be very hard / practically impossible to separate the dog from its hapless victim. The fact is, almost no pavement is wide enough for a dog on any length leash to be conducted without obstructing other pedestrians. Often the owner will do nothing when they see you distressed by the dog and quite often, the owner will parade their dog(s) off leash, anywhere, everywhere, without a care in the world beside their Caninebliss (especially if the dog is a bully breed / mastiff). Many dog owners get an exquisite rush from the fear they induce in others and this is evident in the way the owner of a powerful dog will invariably react viciously when reminded that the dog should not be off leash where it is illegal to be off leash. That is because the owner becomes empowered to be more vicious, in a manner consistent with the harmful potential of the dog. In August 2017, l was rushed by a large American Staffordshire Terrier-type dog, which was off leash. As l passed the owner, in a state of shock l said "The dog should be on a leash", The owner - physically unimposing by himself, but empowered by his dog - exploded with a foul mouthed tirade, and kept repeating that the dog is on a leash. The dog was indeed on a leash, but the owner was of course not holding the leash, it was trailing behind the dog.
- Dog violence is never primarily about bad owners, it is foremost about the dog. First you have the dog. Then you have the scumbag gravitating toward becoming its owner. Besides, if there can be bad owners, there can be "bad" dogs (a.k.a the default canine, the ordinary regular dog).
- Dogs are mostly aggressive by nature. Dogs don't need to be taught to kill.
- If a stranger met a dog alone in a forest, it is likely the dog would attack the stranger, if it were big enough, or at least harass the stranger.
- You cannot truly know a dog's mind. It's hard enough figuring other people out, even when people are communicating via language.
- Violence has not been bred out of Staffies (which, you are reminded, are really a form of Pitbull). That is demonstrably a myth.
As you can see, there's a high level of degeneracy among dog owners, making them permissive of the bad things dogs do (c.f. the compulsiveness of drug dependency). Dog owners seem to think ownership of their free-roaming semi-tame / wild animals has parallels with cat ownership and having children, thus exonerating the dog owner. No: only dog ownership has the problems mentioned. Yes, dropping glass bottles, lion-taming, flamethrowers, etc., are all harmful too, yet these too are not permitted on the beach. Admittedly, dog-fouling is in fact illegal too, i.e. it is already covered by law, BUT the point is: that is clearly not enough because it is all too common, it is inevitable where recreational dog ownership prevails as a societal trend (a societal cancer), it is a dead certainty that dogs will foul everywhere and few will care because they are all hooked on Caninebliss, and let's not forget the innate dangers posed by dogs and dog waste. Heroin addiction too is a massive problem, so we focus on it, we prioritise dealing with it. We must recognise Caninebliss for the horror that it is, and prioritise dealing with it - so please let's not raise cavils about beach barbeques and infants running amok, as a means to shoehorn Caninebliss into society, to be tolerated along with those other aspects of human society (which aren't even bad - in the case of infants running around, that is a blessing to the human race, and we were all children once). These are all aspects of human society and where dangerous, are being prioritised in being dealt with. Human society is a human construct which Caninebliss undermines to the nth degree because dogs are so dangerous, so in-your-face, and filth vectors. As a society, we cannot give equal priority to dog and human problems (or worse, make stalking, harrassment, mindless aggression, public defaecation, etc. acceptable on our streets if dogs do it, as if they were pre-eminent over humankind), because humans are relatively harmless and the dog problems are such, and of such severity, that they undermine human society to the core. To even begin caring about human society, is to react against Caninebliss, and vice-versa. Anything contrary to human society is by definition antisocial, sociopathic, psychopathic, and so it is that dog owners conflate dog problems with human problems, unable to distinguish our lower, animal selves, from our higher, human nature - because Caninebliss is a dehumanising mental aberration. Please let's not frame this as an attack on working dogs (police dogs, farm dogs). Please let's not frame this as an attack on guide dogs for the blind either - those dogs are a necessity if the health service deems so, and are thus the best of the best, and are essentially working dogs anyhow. Caninebliss pertains to recreational dog ownership.
Plan of Action:
# Let's not host petitions to decide dog policy (as Bournemouth and Poole Council seem to have done). It's a health and safety matter. I dread to think what precedent we are setting by deciding objective health and safety matters via plebiscite. Caninebliss is objectively wrong, no matter how many addicts vote for it.
# Have self employed wardens / private agencies / government agencies administering fines for dog offences
# Have, and actively enforce, dog-free zones in touristy areas of Bournemouth all year round, because most dogs will defaecate on footpaths and in public parks (whose bins overflow with dog faeces; the smell is out of this world, the same smell when in summer, it rains after a long dry spell, and fumes from the latent dog faeces form a toxic miasma), and most dogs will be off-leash despite clear signs forbidding it (e.g. at Hengistbury Head). This is a menace. It's only wealth that is preventing bully breeds being off leash in these areas, because they are chav dogs.
# Act NOW at beauty spots. Rid the Hengistbury Head wildlife refuge, the banks of the River Stour and Avon, and in fact the entire Dorset coast, of dogs. They are always off-leash in public in and around those areas, they dog other pedestrians, they react furiously to each other and when off-leash, to every other living thing from humans to alpacas. They cover the beach and scenic cliff walkways with toxic faeces and gooey effluent, making them a wasteland fit only for rats, snakes, crows and [cute] foxes. Eventually, dropped litter and grafitti accumulate, vandalism spirals, as people realise nobody cares. Word gets around Europe and tourists stop coming. Get the disgusting rat-infested beaches downgraded from Blue Flag status until the prime cause is tackled: dog faeces.
# Act NOW at urban hotspots. Dogs can be found illegally off leash roaming alongside their owners for example at Hengistbury Head, Knyveton Road (Central Bournemouth), Boscombe Pier, the pedestrian precinct in central Boscombe (especially after 5pm), Boscombe's Palmerston Road (seriously, l've never seen so much faeces per square metre), the entrance / exit of Boscombe Aldi, the junction of Southbourne Grove and Belle Vue Road (where the charming downward gradient makes the dog owner more carefree, Caninebliss exceeds threshold level, dog goes off leash / leash gets ridiculously extended, dog defaecates, urinates, dogs pedestrians) - and many other places.
# At least clarify the presence of dog friendly beaches, enforce the dog regulations, and increase the number of dog-banned beaches, or better still, completely ban them from the beach, they don't really require a seascape to get through their day. Make all dog-banned beaches dog-banned all year round, because people live in settlements all year round, people visit the beach all year round. Or they would, if there weren't untameable animals such as dogs roaming, fouling everywhere.
# Make the overwhelming majority of our public beaches and parks (by size) dog-free all year-round.
# Ban dogs from public transport - the owners take liberties by leaving their dogs in gangways (only if it's a bully / Molosser / pitbull breed, the owners relish the fear caused) and seating them on seats despite the rules forbidding it, the dogs sometimes bark, which is a prompt for the driver to remove the passenger and dog from the bus - the driver does nothing, ever; l believe l have also seen dog excrement on the floor of the Morebus M2 service. The single-deck Morebus services in and around Bournemouth are glorified kennels, with pitbulls (Staffordshire terriers) alighting every other journey taken; there is always at least on person standing at the front of the bus in the most constricted part of the gangway in spite of available seating (another safety hazard - the driver does nothing), the baggage section is frequently used as a "cradle" by passengers (i.e. they just seat themselves in it), the buses are over 10 minutes late every other journey one may take, the online live timetable has changed from a simple pulldown menu where we select our stop (having already clicked a link to the specific bus service) to get the predicted arrival times for that stop for the next few hours ... to a map that requires browser compatibility, a map that requires that we know the geographical locaiton of our stop so that we navigate to the general area, zoom in, pinpoint our stop and thereby get bus times for all buses serving that stop, whether the buses take us to our destination or not. The Morebus service moves in mysterious ways.
# Change national law so that all dogs are muzzled in public at all times, reintroduce the dog ownership licence (set the price at around £500 per annum - a small price to pay for something dog owners testify is man's best friend, a nanny for their kids, etc.), introduce bankrupting fines for dog-fouling and other dog offences. As for dog bites, the dog owner should have a significant indemnity per dog bite, e.g. around £50,000 - £100,000 plus any lifetime healthcare costs that ensue for the victim - and the offending dog is to be destroyed with minimum legal obstacles, minimum paperwork, minimum delay. If workers at a dog's home or government agency are finding it heartbreaking to put so many dogs down (and there will be many, many dogs being put down for attacks on humans), that is no reason to make laws more lax (this argument has actually been tendered). Simply find staff that will do their job properly.
# Perhaps approach Caninebliss / recreational dog ownership per se, as a mental disorder, like a drug use or drug dependence disorder. A drug use disorder can be problematic enough, but it becomes a drug dependence disorder when compulsions (aggression, risk-taking, other passions) override fear of negative consequences. Infants can be compulsive too, so as you can see, this is regressive behaviour in an adult. Compare drug use disorders with dog ownership - both are inherently problematic, both growing to become an utter public nuisance when driven by compulsions so that they become dependence disorders rather than a mere drug use / dog ownership disorder. The compulsions of a "dog dependence disorder" entail the owner's and dog's compulsions being flaunted in the face of the negative consequences thereof (as with a drug dependence disorder) - we've spoken enough about these compulsions and their consequences already. Symptoms of antisocial personality disorder would figure largely in any formal definition of Caninebliss as a mental disorder.