2007 - 2022

Vacuum your Villages!

31A0984900000578-0-image-a-15_1456882291429For months everyone thought it was a Little Britain spoof, or maybe a Rory the Tory project, but no, now it seems that Clean for the Queen  is not a comedy meme but an actual thing, in the real world, in the 21st Century, in the country you live in. It’s the cringeworthy embodiment of everything that is wrong with Britain, it’s like living in a medieval theme park.

Here Spectator editor and Telegraph columnist Toby Young moans about why everyone’s not getting right behind the idea, another example of an elite completely detached from reality. He argues that somehow having Marks and Spencers, the Cubs, and Macdonalds involved is some sign of Britain’s Big Society at play. Sometimes I hate being tethered to this country so much I want to stab my eyes out with a fork.

This is the most abhorrent, patronising, feudalistic, impoverishing, dire shite I have ever experienced. It’s the transmission of a British state ideology of deference, a way of treating people like peasants. If you worried that Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith’s benefits changes took us back to Victorian Britain, be reassured it’s the Middle Ages they’re aiming for.

Vacuum Your Villages! Spruce your Cities! 

Along with “put on a proper suit, do up your tie and sing the national anthem” and the God Save the Queen for All proposal we seem to have descended further into a new hell of enforced British grovelling. As the brilliant Laurie Penny points out:

“Back in the real world, the reason Britain has a problem with litter because local councils have been forced to cut their budgets by up to 40 per cent in two years, for no good reason other than to fund Tory tax breaks for the same companies that are sponsoring “Clean for the Queen”. Councils have had to choose between closing their child crisis centres, shutting down libraries, or firing half their cleaning staff. Many of the “grot spots” that the beleaguered Clean For The Queen social media team has chosen to shame in public are untidy precisely because they’ve had to get rid of the people who were actually employed to tidy up.”

Now getting not her stride she continues:

“The poor don’t need money, they need a better attitude. Recently Frank Field, who is a Labour MP in the same way that Donald Trump is a man of the people, opined in the Telegraph that children should be required to sit through lessons in how to avoid poverty – not by joining a union and agitating for humane wages, but by getting married. This advice, aimed at young girls, would have appeared retrograde in the 1950s, but in today’s Britain it is acceptable for a politician to declare that marriage must be prioritised as “the great civilising force on males”. “Of course no one should advocate the continuation of a partnership that involves mental or physical abuse,” writes Field. “But the possibility of such abuse must not be used to promote single parenthood.”

This confluence of traditional values, enforced deference and corporate sponsorship is a new low in Parody Britain.

Ideas for creative resistance welcome…

Comments (45)

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  1. Mary MacCallum Sullivan says:

    It’s enough for a unilateral declaration of Scotland the Republic – please?!

  2. Chris Welton says:

    I used to think Frank Field was a reasonable sort of guy but I don’t know what he’s taking these days.
    However, he has the right idea for Scotland:-
    “Of course no one should advocate the continuation of a partnership that involves mental or physical abuse,”
    Thanks, Frank. Keep up the good work !

    1. Gillian McPhee says:

      Frank Field was indeed a thinker of note, radical on social policy 30 years ago.

      His personal decline mirrors that of the Mickey Mouse party he still serves.

      As for stewart, he is a toad of the highest order who raises brown nosing from an endeavour undertaken by obsequious crawlers with no self respect to an Olympic sport.

      Shame on him he can stick his Hoover right up his Hadrian’s wall!

  3. Clive Scott says:

    I agree with the general sentiment of the article however here is the “but” trailing along. Where I live there is a single track back road up from the town. It winds through hedgerows and passes the Battle of Falkirk monument. Car drivers not only use the route as a short cut but also use it to dispose of all the accumulated litter in their cars. This mostly consists of soft drink cans, fast food packaging, crisp and sweet wrappers, and glass bottles. Periodically the council do a litter pick and within two weeks it is as bad as ever. Personally, I’m all for policing with extreme prejudice, nicely weighted truncheons, and steel toe capped boots.

    1. I completely agree with everyone that has posted abut litter and in particular – dog shit. I think people should clean up / clear up for themselves and their community though, and the idea of this being sponsored by Macdonalds, as others have pointed out, is hilarious.

      1. old battle says:

        Bella Ed
        We can do better than the Tory-speak campaign . Here is a starter o ten.
        Clean for the queen: Fkn Obscene
        Wipe up the puke for an earl or a duke
        Wash & rinse the dishes fur the prince & his misses
        Clean up duh shite fur a dame or a knight
        Sweep up the stoor for a lord and his ‘hoor
        Pick up the empties for Tory numpties
        Dig a grave for posh Dave
        Dae us a favour-clean- up Labour
        Pick up a Gregg’s cup if yer rich as fk
        Pick up the trash – ruling class
        Bella readers are no queen’s cleaners

    2. Ian Kirkwood says:

      Surely what matters is that my car interior is swept clear.

  4. bringiton says:

    We could start by cleaning out the House of Lords,followed by the Tory vermine that infest Westminster.

  5. Isla Browning says:

    I agree with Clive. Too many people drop litter on roads, pathways and beaches and appear not to care. When I was a child in Fife I remember notices saying £10 fine for dropping litter.

  6. Bill Low says:

    Hopefully a creative response would be to broadcast in as many ways as possible, the words of Aneurin Bevan. “A free Health Service is a triumphant example of the superiority of collective action and public initiative applied to a segment of society where commercial principles are seen at their worst.” In Place of Fear, 1952. Any public sector service that has been diminished can be substituted for ‘a free Health Service.’
    Bevan further opined in 1950 that Labour would win the election as ‘successful Toryism and an intelligent electorate were a contradiction in terms.’ His own experiences ensured that no amount of cajolery could eradicate from his heart a deep and burning hatred of the Tory party. “So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin,” he went on. ” They condemned millions of people to semi-starvation. I warn you young men and women,do not listen to what they are saying, do not listen to the seductions of Lord Woolton. They have not changed, or if they have they are slightly worse.”
    Again, substitute Cameron, Osborne, Johnson, Davidson, latter day ex Labour converts like Field for Woollen.
    How prescient his words now seem.

  7. Rhonda says:

    I agree with Clive Scott. While ” Clean for the Queen” is pretty nauseating, the attitude that it is ok to throw down litter and to expect everyone to pay to pick it up is also stomach churning. Our community has regular beach cleans and very little litter is thrown down in the street but two miles away around the area of the bus park and ride is a disgrace and a shocking sight to greet anyone arriving to view the new Forth Bridge by bus. We need to work harder at – a) getting people to recognise how anti social littering is and b) encouraging people to pick up casual litter even if they haven’t thrown it down. I have done this myself and seen others doing it.
    It is all a question of what the whole population will tolerate.
    We are making some progress with dog owners being expected to clean up, so why not general litter.

    1. Eleanor Ferguson says:

      We really shouldn’t have to employ people to pick up after us.We seem to be so apathetic about even cleaning outside our own homes, expecting that someone else will do it. Surely we should all be doing our bit to educate children about dropping litter. On my trips to East Lothian for walks I get so depressed at the amount of litter in the hedgerows and on the verges,spoiling our beautiful countryside. We should be so proud of our country that we just wouldn’t dream of spoiling it. I sometimes wonder if people who have been given community orders could be employed to pick litter as the message may filter back to the offenders!

  8. Frank says:

    Laura Penney’s argument is spurious, although nothing new there. I have lost count of the amount of times I have seen school children walk past litter bins and still throw away their rubbish onto the street. Disgraceful! The bloody youth of today…

  9. Alf Baird says:

    “Rory the Tory” – a quaint reminder of ‘the good old days’!

    Well worth us ‘peasants’ giving our list vote to Rise – “RISE favours a democratic Scottish republic which puts power in the hands of the Scottish people and sweeps away Westminster’s undemocratic British institutions like the monarchy” http://www.rise.scot/policies/#independence

  10. Soar Alba says:

    We need to stop this nonsense in the only way we can.
    Independence please.
    Why associate with such buffoonery?

  11. Geoff Bush says:

    I detest litter and general public space abuse, but this campaign makes me want to go and symbolically chuck litter in the street, (then probably go round and pick it up again). So how about a public littering event in protest against this patronising, royalist, doublespeak, establishment-led disgrace of an idea ?

  12. Peter Burnett says:

    Remember you’re a Womble.

  13. Lesley Docksey says:

    Mike’s right – the Tories want us all to go back to being serfs. It’s shaming, embarrassing and I cringe on behalf of my greatly-loved piece of the earth – the island of Britain. If Boris and his chums want to Clean for the Queen, they can bloody well get down on their knees and scrub the streets themselves. And do it for real, not as a photo-op.
    The sooner we can all get rid of them the better.
    Yes, there is a problem with litter – much of it caused by the take-away fast food industry. And it takes 10 miles to eat a McDonald’s burger and chips. How do I know? That is precisely where the rubbish is tossed out of cars onto the road from the local town turning down into my village! And street cleaners of any kind in the local towns have disappeared because of the cuts.
    What next Big Idea will they come up with, where the ‘deserving poor’ have to clean up the Tories’ mess? Or perhaps they will bring back the workhouse.

    1. Jim Morris says:

      If the litter has an identifier as to its source, e.g. McDonalds, then the local authority should fine them for each item discarded. At £400 a pop they would soon pass on the cost to their customers, who would either stop buying or stop littering.

  14. Gralloched says:

    Britannia waives the rules
    Britons ever ever ever
    Shall be fools.

  15. Archie Hamilton says:

    It might seem an odd idea at face value and a touch old “fogeyish” but as a suggestion instead of “Clean for the Queen”, and in lieu of the next pointless flag waving for independence suggestion, why don’t we get a grass roots “Clean up Scotland” operation organised?
    Yes, a lot of the litter is due to cut backs in refuse cleaning but the biggest part of the problem comes from our own attitudes. It might help to counter a lot of the negative views put about by opponents of independence and it would most certainly help to cheer up and improve our surroundings.

    Much like anywhere else there are aspects of life in Scotland about which it is very hard to be proud and the litter issue is up there near the top. We can’t keep ignoring it and blaming others.

    1. David Sangster says:

      “Clean up After the Queen”, perhaps?

  16. Fergus walker says:

    When I was walking along a street in Lowestoft a couple of years ago with a Norwegian friend (the only reason we were in Lowestoft was stopping in on board a replica Viking ship, but that’s another story) she was horrified to spot one of the natives casually tossing a crisp packet onto the ground as he walked along in front. I reckon one of the reasons that Norway by comparison looks so spotless is a pride in their country that comes from self determination, lack of a historic fuedal stranglehold, and good local democracy. I think when you’re told to clean up by your overlords, who own all the land and control everything, you’re going to be less inspired to clean up after yourself than if you own the land, you get the politicians you elect, and your council is actively raising and using revenue. What we have is the trickle down theory of the every man for himself. In the short term though, I’m not sure what the priority is to help clean for the queen. We could do with cleaning off all the pictures of the queens face that litter the place. We could gather up bags of packaging and other rubbish that McDonald’s, M&S and the other sponsors are responsible for unleashing on the world, and send it back to them – or to Buckingham palace with a letter saying ‘look what we cleaned up for you!’

    1. Ian Kirkwood says:

      You correctly identify the social dislocation that rips Scotland in two. Outcasts in primitive society were literally cast out. For their misdemeanours they were sent away and denied the protection of the group. Our tax system is responsible for creating millions of outcasts in a somewhat different and more subtle manner. It is no wonder a vast section of our population struggles to find the motivation to keep their oppressors’ gains nice and tidy.
      Above due wages and profits there is ‘rent’ — the surplus which a civilisation must SHARE if it is to survive and thrive. The privatisation of economic rent by ‘rent-seekers’ is an existential threat to humanity. Our tax system devotes it all gratis to the owners of land. But there is still time to rescue Scotland by embracing Annual Ground rent (AGR). Hence the slogan of the Scottish Land Revenue Group, ‘Equal access to the rents we create’. http://www.slrg.scot AGR would renew the social contract, trashed by the landlords, and relink the outcasts to their country. After that – no more litter.

  17. Ian says:

    I live in France in the Limousin and almost all the small towns and villages are spotless.They have a Mairie in every town and village who are responsible for the general up keep of facilities and the surroundings. They are elected by the local people and receive finance from the goverment.No matter how small the village seems to be there are football pitches,tennis courts,changing facilities,often gyms and man made lakes with beaches.The small town near where i live(population 2000)has a Library and cinema which are probably hardly viable but are a essential part of life in the town and add to peoples feeling of civic pride.

    1. LesRoches says:

      Hi Ian, the comments you make are spot on. I have lived and worked in Brittany for 11 ish years now and can confirm what you said is correct. When I do go back to visit family and friends, whether in Scotland or England, I make the point, the taxes raised via Land and House taxes (2 different systems) get a proportion returned to each village,town and city where they employ people who live in the places and are accountable not just to Marie, but to their neighbours and wider community.

      France is always criticized for it’s number of public service employees, but they all pay tax and do their jobs properly and make sure that the money is spent on what it was raised to do.

      On another note, good to hear from another like minded person.

      Best regards


  18. Ted says:

    The numbskull “Rory the Tory” was governor of Iraq at one time . A really dangerous idiot.

  19. bjsalba says:

    It seems to me that the 5p plastic bag charge has done a lot for the place I live. There is definitely less litter around.

  20. 1314 says:

    I have a letter with a wee Portcullisy thing at the top assuring me that her muchness picks up Corgi Crap whenever there are no little people to do it for her.

    I feel the need to stand up and sing a song about people who don’t know their place (although, thank goodness, they ‘thought carefully’ for once in their lives.)

  21. Blair paterson says:

    I paid a national insurance stamp for 65 years part of that was my contribution to the health service but I am now being told it is free ?am I due a rebate ?

  22. Big Jock says:

    At a time when Scotland is becoming more and more self contained. Britishness is being rammed down our throats. It’s actually worse than before we had Holyrood.

    This is England ramming their invented culture down Scotland’s throat. We are Scottish. We have a real celtic culture, music and traditions. The modern Anglo Saxon imperialist plastic identity is not ours. It’s Disneyland England it’s bloody bullshit and hollow.

  23. Tony Rozga says:

    It amazes me when I try to imagine the crawlers that dreamt up this idea. Clean for the monarchy, clean for The Lord, keep the village painted for the laird, clear the ditches and fix the fences. There would be a lot less litter and dumping rubbish if the people owned the land.

  24. Danny MacTavish says:

    Take off your tie, apologize for the national anthem and investigate pedophilia being covered up in the tory party. That would have been a better suggestion from David Cameron. As for comrade Windsor, she can clean away her titles and pay tax instead of being a puppet for millionaires to bypass democracy and overthrow elected leaders in Australia setting back Aboriginal rights by decades the old boot.

  25. Danny MacTavish says:

    Litter on the street is nothing compared to litter in parliament and unelected chambers serving a system designed to keep parasites in power. Better shit on the streets than shit in control.

  26. Iain Cameron says:

    I thought if I cleaned the house I’d get an automatic visit for the monarch, so I hoovered yesterday and washed the windows but there’s still no sign of here. Get a move on, dear. I’ve got the dentist at 1030.

  27. Stuart says:

    When you describe Britain as being cringe-worthy and Medieval, do you mean a kilts and bagpipes, sheeps-bladder-stuffed-with-offal kind of Medieval? Or more of an Englishy Medieval?

    1. Jim_McIntyre says:

      Aye, because the ode to a haggis is definitely up there with the legacy of British systems of patronage and the politicisation of the Royal family.

  28. Jim_McIntyre says:

    That Toby Young article is one of the best articles I have ever read.

    Creative Resistance? Well the obvious thing to do might be start littering but that would be counterproductive. I suppose art students could have a field day creating images of the queen with cigarette butts or discarded royal paraphernalia. Some kind of solidarity with refuse collectors?

  29. Angie Carter says:

    If I clean for the queen, will I get the minimum wage? Can I pick my palace of employment? Do I send the CV to herself or Michael Gove?

  30. JohnEdgar says:

    Why do we have to link keeping the country tidy with this nauseating, sychophantic forelock tugging bowing and scraping. It seems these days wherever one looks an institution has suddenly got a royal tag. Keep Scotland Tidy is the only encouragement we need.

    1. Archie Hamilton says:

      Well, John, whatever the correct slogan may be, I’m inclined to say that there seems to be an extremely large number of people around Scotland who are in need of much greater encouragement.

      In both urban and rural Scotland our attitude to the litter problem leaves a lot to be desired. Maybe “pride” has the wrong sort of connotations in some regards but we certainly need to respect our environment, Scotland, a great deal more.

  31. willie says:

    I am sure that their will be many in the Labour Party who will see this initiative to Clean for the Queen as a duty that all her loyal subjects should undertake, themselves and the Queen of course excluded. This after all is the same Labour Party who during the referendum found common cause and worked with the monarchy fervent Orange Lodge of Scotland to campaign to save the union.

  32. JohnEdgar says:

    It gets even worse. In the Telegraph Kirstie Alsopp assures us all that the Queen is a “keen liitter picker”. A Duke has said” “I know it will give great pleasure to Her Majesty to know that her birthday has created something wonderful…”. Now that cloys! Perhaps an indication of gratefulness or even expression of gratitude… but no.

  33. willie says:

    Let’s be quite honest we do in fact have a shower of clarty bastards in Scotland. Look around you and you see it. Cities like Glagow are the absolute worst. Many would defecate where they stand. And whose fault is that. Standards of public cleanliness are immensely better in rural areas. Why?

  34. Phil Fletcher says:

    As a “Sassenach” I find the fact that there is such a demand for Gaelic absolutely fantastic.
    If nothing else, apparently learning ( and using languages on a practical daily basis) is supposed to be good prevention against Alzheimers!

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