At the risk of drawing down the wrath of pensioners' organisation Saga on my head, I'm going to stick my neck out and support Conservative Bury council for telling residents, amongst them a pensioner, to clean up their own graffiti. The Mail illustrates the story with a picture of the alley concerned.
Now if some scrote tagged my wall, I'd sigh, get the solvents out and scrub it off. I'd suspect most homeowners would do the same. But just take a look at the Mail's picture again; those boundary fences are homogenous, municipal even. Not the 16' sections of individuality that private boundary fences are. And that grotty tarmac looks 'council' too. I'll bet all those graffitied homes are actually council houses.
Council tenants aren't like the rest of us. In return for their heavily subsidised £35 a week in rent, they expect superlative levels of service from the State. Around here they can throw their old mattresses out on the street confident that the council will pick them up free of charge within 24 hours, when the rest of us have to wait a fortnight and pay £20. They can allow their fences to fall into rotting heaps of weeds confident that the council will be along to put it all right. And they can demand that the council turns up to clean the graffiti from those fences. Only in this case Bury says no.
It never seems to occur to them that by abrogating any semblance of 'ownership' of the properties they occupy, they themselves are encouraging the taggers. The clients of the Client State are responsible for their own predicament.
Graffiti removal is excellent healthy exercise for pensioners. It improves wrist and upper body strength and thereby lessens the risk of falls, provides gentle cardiovascular exercise and importantly is an opportunity for socialisation of benefit to isolated single pensioners. I would go further than Bury Council. I would issue the complaining pensioners with a litre of solvent, a face mask, a pair of Marigolds and a scrubbing brush. Within a few months, graffiti will have ceased to appear.