Business365 editor, Simon Richardson – like so many other people on the Island – is working from home. He’s been keeping a daily blog about the experience and reflecting on the strange times we find ourselves in as a result of the Coronavirus epidemic.
A bit of a rant
Whilst the news about possible coronavirus spikes, rocketing unemployment and riots on the streets are all deeply depressing, the thing that has really got under my skin recently has been images of the sea of rubbish that people on marches, on beaches or in parks have thought it OK to leave in their wake.
What is wrong with people? I was out and about last weekend and was saddened to find that a worrying number of our own people on the Island think it’s OK to rock up at a local beauty spot, light fires, use disposable BBQ’s drink copious quantities of booze and overwrapped junk food, then depart without a care in the world, leaving their crap behind them (literally in some cases).
Is it really too much to ask that they bag their rubbish and take it home – or at least find a waste bin? The really depressing part of all this is not just the fact that they are messing up our environment and making considerable work for others, it’s what it says about them as people. It’s the kind of behaviour that offers a window into many of the deep-rooted social problems we have in society, such as a lack of respect, total disregard for others and the absence of basic decency.
I am aware that this could be intepreted as the ramblings of an old bloke with nothing to do but moan about a bit of anti-social behaviour – but I’ll take that chance. I actually enjoy doing most of the above, but I can say, hand on heart, it has never entered my head to leave a trail of rubbish in my wake. Thankfully my friends all take a similar view.
It would be too easy to say that the situation is far worse in the UK than it is in the Isle of Man. It might well be true, though I’m sure that – proportionately – we aren’t that much different.
My view, for what it’s worth, is that the problems start at home. It is the duty of us all as parents to drill basic decency, manners and respect for others into our children. If these fundamental building blocks aren’t put in place at an early age then society is in trouble. As children become adults the absence of any kind of social conscience or behavioural parameters gains traction and leads to a general blindness to the accepted norms of society.
It is not exclusively a British problem – but in my experience we are up there with the worst. I have been to large-scale gatherings in a number of other European countries and nowhere have I seen the kind of behaviour that we seem to accept as normal in Britain. I haven’t seen large-scale drunken brawls on beaches (other than when Brits are involved), nor acres of rubbish left by people in parks and beauty spots.
There’s probably little we can do to change the people who behave anti-socially, other than hit them in their pockets with substantial fines. But if the above sounds all gloom and doom then let me offer a bit of balance. There are sufficient signs that the next generation may want to reject the yobbish, ‘I’m all right Jack’ attitude that has tarnished the image of the country around the globe. It’s in all our interests that we encourage them to follow the path of decency and social responsibility. That means listening to what they have to say and offering support in both words and actions.
The events of recent months since the start of the pandemic have been a wake up call for us all, and have shown that we are – in the majority of cases – still capable of pulling together as a society. The many displays of selflessness and community spirit demonstrated by people of all ages have been heartwarming.
I don’t know about you but I’d much prefer to be proud of the society I live in than embarrassed by it.