There plenty of things that can grind you down if you let them. Nothing can effect without your consent but ubiquitous litter is a depressing sight and can blight your mood in an instant.
I see litter from the moment I step out of my house. It begins with the discarded fag packets, sweet wrappers, and drink tin on the nearby path. This is a mere foretaste of what is to come.
Within a few miles you can see ample evidence of the irresponsible tossers, for tossers they are – anyone who tosses litter out of their vehicle is by definition a tosser.
The local council does a good job of keeping the streets clean but it’s a never ending task. The street cleaners will never be short of work. Step outside the urban areas and you are immediately struck by volume of detritus thrown out of passing vehicles.
Any new road where the fresh verges are seeded can expect to attract a sprinkling of discarded cans and bottles within days. They are particular noticeable at junctions where vehicles come to a halt and drivers toss them out without a thought.
Car parks are another favourite spot for the litter louts. Judging by the location and the type of rubbish it looks as if they park up to consume junk food and then simply dump the remains where they sit.
There are litter bins nearby of course, but that would mean getting out of the car. That’s not going to happen, unless it’s to buy more food and drink of course. Even then a drive-through is preferable.
Some litter is avoidable with a little more care and attention. Open the windows of a vehicle at speed on a motorway for example and anything left on the dashboard is likely to blow out. Pieces of plastic and polystyrene blow of building sites. With adequate precautions all this could be prevented just as an open truck load needs to have a cover.
However, there is no excuse for dumping your commercial waste in country lanes. Flytipping is the equivalent of visiting someone’s home and defecating on the front lawn.
Some flytippers will moan increased charges at the local recycling centre or some other whine about the cost of disposing of their loads. Why don’t they simply add a few pounds their fees to pay for legal disposal? I guess it’s pointless putting such questions to people who are so low on the integrity scale.
(Note: Report flytipping wherever you see it so that it can be dealt with as soon as possible using the website FixMyStreet.com.)
Why do dog owners go as far as picking up and bagging the poo but then through the back into hedge and trees? I once went for a walk on Dartmoor and a tree near the car park was festooned with these bags, fluttering in the wind like old prayer flags and pagan offerings.
In urban areas they risk being fined (not to mention provoking confrontations with passers-by) but away from prying eyes there is this half-hearted approach of bag it and toss it.
Where people are desperately poor the mounds of rubbish are a means to survival and dealing with what’s left is too expensive. What’s our excuse in the developed world?
Flytipping and tossing litter out of vehicles seems to be a symptom of a deeper malaise, a nihilistic view of life. It’s the same emptiness that generates drinking to the point of poisoning or eating to morbid obesity both of which causing immense and preventable strain on the NHS.
We pour plastics into the oceans and create great rafts of refuse that float indefinitely on the oceans. Sea birds and marine life eat our effluent and poison themselves and those further up the food chain, including ourselves.
It has taken a great deal of effort on the part of volunteers to clear up the debris left by climbers at Everest’s base camps. Who goes to such places only to despoil them in this way?
On both sides of the Atlantic millions of people have been asking the question, “How did this happen? Why did we lose?”.
How they laughed when it was first announced that Trump might run for President. How they scoffed at the very idea the the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland might one day leave the European Union.
Well, Trump is in now in the White House and the Brexit juggernaut is rolling, albeit around some obstacles put in its path. The causes for both events will no doubt be debated for a long while yet but there are already some reasons that now seem undeniable.
A quick google reveals that about 63 million Americans voted for Trump but over 90 million didn’t vote at all. As they say over there, go figure.
I wonder what percentage of those who didn’t vote were on the Women’s Marches or have spent many hours on social media bemoaning the fate of their respective countries.
Another reason often cited as the cause of these so called catastrophes is varying degrees on ignorance, gullibility, and bigotry among those who voted to leave the EU or put Trump in the White House.
I would be the first to agree that there are some pretty dim people out there but to suggest that tens of millions of people are unable to make rational decision for themselves and their families, having weighed up all the arguments for and against, is wildly inaccurate and very condescending.
After the Brexit referendum some people went as far as suggesting that certain people shouldn’t be allowed to vote at all. They suggested that some voters were either too old to make decisions that would have long term effects or that they were too stupid to know what’s good for them. This patronising viewpoint is one often heard uttered by the Eurocrats. Leave it to the experts, they know what’s best for us, eh boys?
This is another favourite excuse used by many to explain who things have turned out as they have done. It doesn’t occur to them that many immigrants and descendants of immigrants voted to leave the EU for reasons they can explain perfectly well for themselves.
If a white person said what is said on these clips people would be quick to whip out the tired old excuses of racism and xenophobia. The truth is that they believe that while immigration has benefits you can have too much of a good thing, and that stricter controls and stronger entry requirements isn’t at all xenophobic but just sensible governance:
In this next clip we see an American gentleman, “Big Joe” who is perfectly capable of making his point among crowds of people who were protesting the day after Trump’s inauguration.
One woman shouts, “You’re on a bicycle and you’re oblivious!” – not sure what’s wrong with being on a bicycle. Big Joe replies, “Political Correctness is un-American!”
I urge you to watch it to the end as the debate becomes a bit more articulate as it goes on.
Take your pick. I’m sure there will be plenty to choose from. The worst so far is the fact that Trump has signed the executive order to push ahead with the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Imagine if Clinton were now in the White House and Britain had voted to remain in the EU. What would change? I would bet very little, except perhaps that Hillary would probably have to keep Bill on a tight leash:
Things would grind on just as they had before with no major problems resolved and things getting progressively worse for many.
Instead, we are witnessing a big rush of energy entering the political world and things are turning upside down. Those on the Left who have always seen themselves as champions of freedom and democracy are becoming more and more censorial and authoritarian.
Meanwhile, more people are turning to the Right as they lose faith in the liberal and centre politicians who have failed to listen to their concerns and grievances and who have brought in changes that have transformed their communities and countries without consultation nor consent.
This energy is shaking things up. It’s removing some of that smug complacency (from both voters and politicians) and reminding us all that our votes do make a difference.
It’s reminding us that our democracy is a precious thing, and that we should never again leave it to others to make decisions for us.
By all means make your voices heard but don’t smash windows and burn cars. Burning the limousine belonging to a Muslim immigrant doesn’t do your cause any favours. Nor does bullying and intimidating Trump supporters simply because you disagree with their points of view.
Is a hijab an appropriate symbol to use in the Women’s March of January 22nd? Again, depends on your point of view. If you’re one of the organisers bemoaning the fact that 22 states in the US don’t allow Sharia law then it’s probably part of your agenda.
If on the other hand you feel the way this woman does, then it is not appropriate:
It breaks my heart, as someone who is forced to wear this atrocity since the age of 11 (I am 25 now), to see them celebrating the tool of my oppression. Being a hijabi has denied me so many rights, I feel offended right now. I don’t see how this is standing up for minorities. I am a full grown woman who lives a submissive life because she can’t afford to be independent, and has to do things she doesn’t approve of so that she can have something to eat. My parents have threatened repeatedly to throw me on the streets if I ever take it off. Millions of girls are denied their basic rights because of the hijab mentality. Why aren’t you standing up for them?”