Who will win the spitting? (A look at social graces)

I had a look back at my past few posts, getting a bit philosophical and distracted by the footy, time to get back to business, the business of ranting. I know a lady who lives somewhere between here and Portsmouth who also feels strongly about this, so this is for her. Everyone should feel strongly about it though. My post today is about something we sometimes mutter about but actually we should be much more indignant. I am going to look at the bigger picture also

If you read my blog, you will know I travel about quite a bit on business. I cover many miles around southern England each week. The other day I noticed someone had finished their lunch, they were in the car in front of me. How do I know they had finished their lunch? (You know where this is going don’t you Sandra?) Why they flung the McDonald’s bag out of the window as they drove along of course. As one does.  Every single day I see rubbish being tossed out of a car window and you know what? It is invariably a cheap, old car. I have lived on this earth for 46 years. I have spent the last 20 years in Britain. I have followed many, many smart, expensive cars and I have never seen rubbish ejected from the window of one. I drive up and down the roads of England pretty much every day, the road side is a constant vision of discarded stuff. Lunch wrappers, drinks bottles and cans, crisp packets, newspapers, yes newspapers. Who reads the paper and then flings it out the window of a moving vehicle when they have finished? They can’t have been driving while reading it so seriously how does that work?

(This picture was taken outside my house this morning. The nearest McDonald’s is 15 miles away!)

There must be a punishment for littering, I haven’t looked it up. Clearly it is not being enforced and is not strong enough. Despoiling the beauty of your country should be up there with treason maybe?

Back to my point about litter coming from cheap cars, extrapolating on this point at the risk of sounding un PC. Why is it the poor who are more given to lack of care about their country. It is almost always the poor. Go to any poor neighbourhood, it’s a toilet mostly. Covered in discarded crap, shopping trolleys upturned, rusting car wrecks, broken bikes and the like litter the streets. Can anyone advise me what the income level is where you cross the threshold of care about your surroundings? Walk down any somewhat wealthy street and it is invariably pristine. The better off don’t have a constant employee wandering about picking up stuff after them, I will wager they don’t discard their lunch wrappings in the street behind them instead. Why is that? There has to be a cut off point of social standing where one becomes aware that littering is not the done thing. Where is that point and who decides it, or how does one suddenly become aware that ruining your countryside is actually a bad idea?

We were in the highlands of Scotland recently, most will agree the most stunning part of Great Britain. We were at a Loch an hour and a half from the nearest main road. The scenery was spectacular. Beside the loch, some people had been camping. I knew this because they had left everything there, discarded wrappers, bottles, cans, plastic bags (they could have used to take the rubbish home in) and even a deflated double airbed. It took 3 of us fully 5 minutes to clean up the mess, from one visit, by someone who should be put in stocks and pelted with fruit in my view. Who are these people? how come they are allowed to walk the streets without supervision? They are probably also allowed to vote, but I guess we can console ourselves that they wouldn’t bother, or know how to.

What relevance is the heading you might wonder. Again, extrapolating. I have played an awful lot of sport, as have most members of my family. I have been to and played in a lot of rugby and cricket matches. Sports seen as being somewhat more upmarket than soccer. I have never spat on a sports field. You will rarely see a rugby or cricket player spitting on the soil they are playing on. Why do soccer players do it constantly? Anytime there is a pause in play and the camera pans around the players, they are spitting, always spitting. Unless there is some secret code we don’t know about that lets them know the camera is on them and it’s time for a gob, we must conclude they are also doing it when the camera isn’t on them. That is an astonishing amount of spitting, who has so much phlegm? Footballers and the poor apparently.

I walk around Britain and I see people in poor quality clothing and cheap tracksuits, no doubt the people who chuck their lunch out of the car window, gobbing on the footpath, without a shred of embarrassment or shame. Why? Has no-one ever said to them that it is disgusting? I would place a small wager that should you find yourself walking about the campus of a smart University, you will see no spitting on the footpath at all. Again, is there an income level or education threshold where you discover that spitting in public is revolting? Why don’t the people who run the big soccer clubs say to their players. “Look fellows, you are setting a very poor example for the young and the ignorant by gobbing on the pitch all the time, how about not doing it for a change.” Sadly that is never going to happen. Let me just say then. Littering is unacceptable and should be punished severely and consistently and spitting in public is just disgusting.

The headline is a phrase I once heard the great Terry Wogan use.  He commented about a game of soccer at a weekend and said “I don’t know who won the football but I know who won the spitting.” That appealed to me.


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Categories: Politics, Rants

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22 replies »

  1. Totally agree Sandy. Spitting in public is disgusting. Be relieved at least that you don’t work in Tower Hamlets. I see and hear men hoiking up their whole throat every day. I love it when my friends challenge them on it but I never do as they are usually elderly religious looking types with long white beards.

  2. I put it down to the televising of baseball where they chew tobacco (gives them mouth cancer) and gob all the time. I believe the gobbing in football is a more recent phenomena.

    One of the most revolting things I saw when I first went to a pool hall in the US 50 years ago were the old farts continously gobbing into spittoons. It shocked my rather middle class English tastes at the time. The other strange phenomena was these old farts all wore their trilby hats indoors all the time. I wondered whether they went to bed in them!

    Of course, nowadays they would all wear those obnoxious baseball hats and if they were younger the hats with the oversized peak at a ludicrous angle so they can look like black urban gangstas.

  3. Ahh yes, the urban gangsta. A look beloved of ratbags and also nice middle class boys who for some reason aspire to look like American street ragamuffins. Dont forget the tousers half way down around their arses. Did you know where that fashion came from? When a misbehaved young gentleman is sent to spend some time at her majesty’s or the presidents correctional facilities they have their belts removed so they (sadly) cannot easily hang themselves. This means their trousers do not stay up so readily and they walk around with them sagging. This absolutely ridiculous look has incredibly caught on as a fashion statement.Remarkable but true.

    • It caught on as fashion apparently as black youths in America continued to wear their trousers like that after release from prison to show that they had been “inside” and were “hard”.
      Just as white youths in Britain (the spitting/littering variety) copy the American (mainly black/) youth in wearing baseball caps backwards or “hoodies”, they have also copied the drooping trouser fashion. I continue to comment to youths wearing their trousers like that that they are neither black or ex-cons but most of them haven`t got a clue what I`m talking about.

      • Hey MM, thanks for coming back for a second visit! I call the imitation fashion we are talking about here ‘adoptaculture’ It is a sad thing when ostensibly nice kids feel its the right thing to do to imitate the fashion of scumbags. These kids arent all feral ratbags of course, many are just being rebellious, interestingly by wearing the same fashion as all the other rebels, I guess they dont get the irony in that either.

  4. I’m going to tread in dangerous territory here Sandy but income level may just not be the catalyst. Spend some time on Clapham Common and you will see all sorts of rubbish being thrown out of some very expensive cars. Not just flash mercs but people carriers with rows of kids in the back. Some of these vehicles live in some very expensive houses.

    So here’s the contentious bit, perhaps er breeding or class? And I don’t mean Working or Middle, I mean bottom feeders and pond dwellers. Scum would tend to sum it up. The problem with scum is that some of it by fair means or foul has got hold of a lot of cash in the last decade (and some before of course) but as you know you can take the pig out of the sty, but you can’t take the sty, well you get my drift.

    Good read, thanks.

    • Oh its all about breeding Jon. I may do a bit one day on who should actually be allowed to breed at all. Should there be some sort of licence for example? Sadly though many people don’t like you saying out loud what they actually think. I’ve always believed that if you think it you should be allowed to say it and see what the consequences look like. I believe there are millions of people wandering about harbouring thoughts that would make those in power and the public eye turn puce with fake indignation. I say fake because they will think it too but can’t and aren’t allowed to say it. So we all walk about keeping our secret thoughts to ourselves for fear of making a scene. It can’t be healthy.

      • Yep, with you on that as well. That is the nice thing about being an old fart. I’m still over 6′ so can discourage, how shall I say, physical intimidation, but I tend not to care who I upset. Within limits on a familly orientated Blog like this of course!

      • And forgive me if I am losing the plot, but you have done a bit on who should be allowed to breed. Haven’t you?

      • “Ahh Jon, I know you are a card carrying lib dem and Guardian subscriber really”

        When a fella has spent the last week conjugating his French verbs, so much so that the word begins to take over from others, like ‘conflate’ (as in the post above) he deserves a bit more respect than that.

        Besides isn’t that a contradiction, card carrying and Liberal. I probably ought not to admit it but I once watched Polly Toynbee on Question Time. It was quite an experience, I understood the meanings of the individual words she was using but taken in totality I couldn’t understand as thing she said.

        Anyway my French language teacher, who is French by the way, tells me that you have to be French to understand French verbs. I’m beginning to suspect she was right. You have an advantage there though with your Mum In Law, being French. Oddly I found German easier, but whereas I quite like the French language, German leaves me cold. Probably a bit bloody old to be trying to learn it, if truth be told.

        I’m sure I detect pity on the face of some of the French I meet though, which isn’t their normal expression, let’s face it.

        And back on thread again, thank goodness the French haven’t acquired the spitting habit, at least in the rural areas. I haven’t been to a French city for some while. But then again they will pee against anything that will stand still long enough. As we have discussed before.

        • I was being funny of course Jon, I’m sure you are a Sunday Sport reader since you where in short trousers, and by the way I would have to look up what conjugate a verb means, literally no idea, didnt pay attention in school you see.

  5. I totally agree, I hate spitting, especially on the pavement. Gross!! I don’t know any spitters but if I see any of my students spitting I always give out!

  6. I got completely distracted reading some other posts!

    We did have bins in the car park at the woods, until it was set on fire! So now the undesirables discard their personal items, food waste etc in the car park. I have to wear gloves to clear up. And then there’s the drug use, sexual activity and fly-tipping! The dogs are not amused.

    Shame it happens in such a beautiful part of the country, where people really ought to know better.

    Lesley x.

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