Can we be bovvered to sort mess out?

PUBLISHED: 10:38 03 October 2008 | UPDATED: 21:24 05 July 2010

AS our politicians postured, puffed and preened through the interminable party conference season, pensioner acquaintances of mine returned home from driving 2,000 miles on holiday around France.

AS our politicians postured, puffed and preened through the interminable party conference season, pensioner acquaintances of mine returned home from driving 2,000 miles on holiday around France.

“I'm writing to the Prime Minister,” announced Tom. “This country is disgusting.”

“We had a marvellous time on open roads, clean road sides, regular clean stops in France, driving with no problems and then we get back to Dover to be met with horrible eyesore piles of rubbish, traffic jams, delays. It makes you ashamed to be British.”

“We are ashamed to be British,” added his wife.

A waste of time writing to Gordon Brown, I advised. He was too busy pretending not to exploit his family for political ends while kissing his wife on stage in front of the party faithful, as they clapped like seals. Only in politics would, and could, a wife step up to the plate to do her man's job for him and he let her. But I digress.

My friends travel a lot. Whenever they return into airports or ferry ports, they're struck by how grotty, neglected and unkempt our nation looks and how careless, rude and hopeless workers are.

Airports are dirty, nothing works, trolleys are missing without trace and queues, queues, queues. Queues that go on and on because no one is organised to work out how to prevent them - or just can't be bothered.

This “am I bovvered?” attitude is endemic.

Supermarket workers can't be bothered to open new checkouts even when queues are five deep, shop assistants can't be bothered to serve you properly, let alone be pleasant, councils can't be bothered to clear up fly-tipping and rubbish in the streets, binmen can't be bothered to take a measly one extra item of rubbish piled too high in a bin. It's not even about being a “jobsworth”. It's pure can't be bothered.

People can't even be bothered to step aside and let you pass when they're blocking the pavement chatting, teenagers can't be bothered to go to school. Whole generations of families can't be bothered to go to work.

The cult Jeremy Kyle Show parades horrific “guests” who revel in reproducing like rabbits, can't be bothered to work, use contraception or get off their sofas. Or even be bothered to be decent to one another.

Few people can be bothered to do anything for anyone else, let alone go that extra mile to help.

GMTV last week secretly filmed a female in different needy situations - fallen on the pavement, a night time car breakdown. Few people bothered to stop to help.

And, as Britain rots in this deepening “am I bovvered?” attitude, our politicians spew out their answers to a soaraway successful Britain in flurries of hot air and speeches to the converted.

Speeches are just that - words, words, and more words. Talk about fiddling as Rome burns. We're hurtling down a mountain into an abyss of despair, financial and every way, and politicians are holed up in hotels patting each other on the back about their plans for the future.

Future? What future? What about the dire present?

The three party conferences of self-congratulation have been a vulgar, obscene waste of money and must only serve to backfire on each party.

The “real people” - if any politician would recognise one if they leapt out and mugged them - can't even be bothered to vote any more, but the parties push on with their posturing and plans.

And in the middle of it all, plans were announced to cheer up people flying into Britain - by offering everyone a cup of English tea and a biscuit.

The answer to dark thoughts of delayed flights, poor weather, grotty surroundings and “am I bovvered” Britain, is a cuppa and a plate of Jammie Dodgers. You couldn't make it up.

The managing director of Waitrose - only politicians and city fat cats can afford to shop at Waitrose - has persuaded airport operators BAA to offer the biscuits and cuppa at Terminal 5 for a week's trial.

Fiddling while Rome burns. Nibbling while Britain rots. But how very British. When in crisis, put the kettle on for a nice cup of tea. Even the sweetest cuppa can't sugar Britain's bitter pill at the moment.

AFTER relentless years of pappy reality TV, the return of a show to sort the men from the boys.

The Krypton Factor is coming back putting contestants through tough mental and physical agility and challenges. Reality TV worth watching.

This programme testing true skill, grit, intelligence and talent of ordinary people was killed off by get fame quick programmes like the X-Factor.

Welcome back the Krypton Factor. Bring back Ask the Family and our viewing will be complete.

On the subject of television, I stumbled across Loose Women the other day, a programme I hadn't seen for months.

I was under the impression its purpose was women discussing topical issues. It was more like Ann Summers on TV.

The hour-long “discussion” seemed to revolve entirely about sex. Four women mindlessly giggling about smutty gags, grubby innuendo and jokes about the others' sex lives and discussing their own bedroom activity in detail - as viewers sat at home slurping their lunchtime soup.

Loose Women is screened at 12.30pm. Children are around. My thoughts went to all those children off school sick, lying on the sofa with a Lemsip watching middle aged women guffawing about their saucy antics with men. Enough.

Makes my school sick days of House Party and Crown Court very lame in comparison.

IF a nine eggs a day diet does for you what it has for culinary queen Nigella Lawson's husband Charles Saatchi don't go there.

Saatchi has shrunk four stone by eating only eggs. Just nine eggs a day when he's married to the original domestic goddess is weird enough in itself.

But, looking at the results, it's not a regime to follow. As well as shrinking, he's aged about 30 years and looks positively pasty and, well, ill.

Wallace Simpson once said you could never be too rich or too thin. Charles Saatchi has proved, oh yes you can.

JUST over a year ago, Gordon Brown was Chancellor, in charge of the Treasury for 11 years.

No wonder he was begging for Blair to go and him to jump into his shoes, passing the poison chalice to Alastair Darling. Did he see this misery coming?

And, if he didn't, such a financial expert he was purported to be, why didn't he?

And how far can we trust him brokering deals for us now to pull us all out of this crisis?

THE doctor in the London hospital who shouted at the labouring woman after he was told she needed a caesarean section: “Why can't women in this hospital give birth naturally?” probably had the obstetricians of the nation behind him.

Every woman who has ended up with an emergency caesarean because she couldn't push her baby out naturally feels a failure and, in many cases, made to feel by medical professionals that she didn't try hard enough.

Male doctors don't help by reinforcing these feelings of inadequacy at a time when a woman is most vulnerable.

Women too, who have popped out babies like shelling peas, also lord it over the poor little caesarean mothers who have either “missed out” or “copped out.”

Few women die today in childbirth in the developed world. Historically, many women literally laboured to death.

The “cop out” caesarean might just have something to do with it.

SELINA Scott should stop whingeing.

Her absence as a TV newsreader has nothing to do with the fact she's 57 and everything to do with her ability to irritate and grate on the viewers.

She obviously hasn't twigged yet that viewers don't like newsreaders patronising them, looking down their chiselled noses or coming across all lofty.

She claims age discrimination stopped her landing the plum Channel Five job when Natasha Kaplinsky went off on maternity leave - 28-year-old Isla Traquair got it.

Considering Scott has spent the last five years of the box - a lifetime in TV years - grooming goats for mohair in Yorkshire, she might be viewed, at best, of being “out of the loop” and, at worst for her, best out of the way.

AN endangered species has appeared at my younger son's primary school.

A man is in the building and year five and six boys in class one are beside themselves with excitement.

A male primary school teacher is a rare commodity. My older son went through his seven years at primary school taught by a man a handful of times when male supply teachers were called in as emergency cover.

Now at secondary school, surrounded by male teachers, he feels he missed out in his primary years.

So when Littl'Un learned a man would teach his class this term - as long-term sick cover for the regular teacher - he was ecstatic.

This man was a hockey coach and loved sport, he said. “I can't wait to be taught by a man,” such was the novelty.

So new survey results that more male teachers are needed if boys are to get the best out of primary school was hardly a surprise - or rocket science.

An environment where every authority figure is female is not a good learning environment for boys. Boys need men to learn from and help them grow up.

Boys need a male perspective, someone to see life from their point of view, understand what makes boys tick, know that sitting still and studying quietly isn't second nature to rumbustious boys and ensure them space to let off steam. They also come in handy to run football and other sport clubs boys at all-female staffed schools often miss.

Education today has become so feminised in every way. In an age when many men are growing up without fathers or any male role models at home, missing out at school too makes life for boys so much harder.

But men are put off working in primary schools - possibly because of the predominance of women there, or the nasty stigma somehow attached to men wanting to work with small children, or the risk of false accusations by parents.

But boys - and parents of boys - desperately need them. Inspirational and caring male teachers in primary years could be just what we need to rescue so many young boys who turn off learning before they reach secondary school.

But until people stop being stupidly suspicious of men who want to work in nurseries and primary schools, we won't find out.

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