There’s been a right royal rumpus these last few weeks about a bit of tidying up. Clean For the Queen, in case you missed it, is a UK wide plan to spruce up our towns and villages in readiness for the Queen’s 90th birthday. An idea that has proven hugely unpopular on social media.
My mate and I, out dog walking, were talking about it as we passed through a field in which travellers camped three years ago. I offer no opinion on travellers, but the piles of rubbish they left behind have been a real eyesore and a danger to wildlife since. We’ll do it, we agreed. We’ll rope in a few mates.
Meanwhile, to hear the “Wow-Just-Wow” brigade you’d have thought the nation was being marched in leg-irons to Buck House to scrub the royal lavatories, pick up corgi poo and leave our first-borns behind to be palace chimney sweeps.
Allan Crow in Fife Today accused the scheme of trying to turn the clock back to the 1920s, of ‘tapping into a notion of royal deference that is antiquated in 2016.’ He wasn’t alone. Articles talked about people feeling patronized, about the scheme being elitist and out of touch, doomed to fail at the outset. There were even accusations of racism. Tee shirts with the slogan “Spic and span, Ma’am,” caused a problem, apparently. No, I can’t see it either.
And so it went on. ‘We should pick up our litter as we go,’ people cried. ‘This is why we pay our taxes.’ ‘It’s the council’s job, not mine.’ ‘If it weren’t for Government cut backs, there’d be no need to drag hard-working families from their hard-earned leisure time.’ ‘And what has the Queen ever done for me?’
Meanwhile, thousands of people all over the country did what they always do when a problem needs solving. They got on with it. Clean for the Queen is actually turning into a massive success because the people of the UK, for the most part, are entirely sensible. They know that Keep Britain Tidy has been organizing annual litter picks for years and that this Clean For the Queen business is nothing more than a catchy slogan.
We live in a filthy country. I say this from one of the posher bits. Thirty million tonnes of litter are dropped every year according to Keep Britain Tidy, making the UK one of the worst offenders in the world.
It’s our problem. It’s not the Queen’s, because this was never really about the Queen. It’s not the Government’s or our local council’s, it’s not the travellers’ because they are long gone. It’s ours, because we have to live in the mess. I had to walk past that cess-pit every day. Well, no longer. I’ve cleaned it up.
Ma’am, you are welcome..