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Challenge the idiots who have to swear

PUBLISHED: 10:13 05 March 2010 | UPDATED: 16:36 06 July 2010

SMOKING, littering, speeding, drunkenness, rowdiness and loud music are all deemed anti-social by law.

All unfit for civilized society if done in public places.

SMOKING, littering, speeding, drunkenness, rowdiness and loud music are all deemed anti-social by law.

All unfit for civilized society if done in public places. All qualify for a hefty fine and the weight of police paperwork.

Fine. But what about swearing?

Where's the law to put the plug into foul mouths littering their sentences with expletives with no embarrassment and shame?

There are laws against everything else to 'protect' society so where's the deterrent to stop people polluting the English language as well as small children's ears and minds?

I don't want to hear profanities and cursing every time I'm shopping, on a bus, on a train or walking through a park as if it's everyday language. I've certainly not enjoyed my children hearing them as they've grown up.

Some might accept it as “just what happens today” and I'm being old-fashioned but I don't. It's unacceptable, disrespectful, ignorant and horrible and needs to be curbed.

Once it was “foul” language - ill-mannered gutter speak. Today it's commonplace. Classless. Profanities have become adjectives, verbs, nouns and pronouns.

But rarely does anyone challenge the swearers for causing offence.

A woman was thrown off a bus last week for breast feeding because the driver said the act was offensive and “indecently exposing” her. Offensive?

The poor woman and her five-week old baby had to walk three miles home.

I wonder if that driver had ever asked anyone to leave his bus for liberal outpourings of swearing or is he another deaf ear turner?

Before you think I've turned all Milly Molly Mandy, I can cuss like anyone else.

But it's not the “stubbed toe” expletive or the “I've had enough” outburst that's the problem; it's the insidious everyday, don't-bat-an-eyelid use of obscenities as second nature - not even to shock anymore

Mothers swear at their children without embarrassment or shame. Children grow up believing swearing is normal speech.

When Bob Geldof swore during Live Aid in 1984, there was a national sharp intake of breath that “that word” had been unleashed on TV.

During Saturday's Carling Cup final a player's remonstrations with the referee were clearly expletives- on live TV in the middle of the afternoon.

At Carrow Road a couple of weeks ago, a man who sits near my husband and boys was turning the air blue. Everyone around looked uncomfortable but no one dared speak out.

Sick of our children listening to his mindless explosions, my husband tapped him on the shoulder as the boys cringed in embarrassment worried dad would end up with a pop on the nose.

He asked him to tone down his language because children were around. The man suddenly lost his tongue, muttered something about “getting all emotional' and shut up for the rest of the match, claiming to his mates he had suddenly “lost his voice”.

He had no idea he had been causing offence. Which is my point.

Challenging idiots can work. If they're no longer swearing to shock they don't realise its unacceptable. We have to tell them.

Booker winner Hilary Mantel approves of “pram-faces” prematurely swapping school bags for a baby buggy.

The writer says we're topsy-turvy about reproduction. Girls should really be having babies at 14, popping them out of their prime young bodies with careers to come later rather than living it up and delaying motherhood until 35 when we're shrivelled and past it.

She has a point. Women spend their most fertile years awash with contraception trying their hardest not to get pregnant “too young” because babies ruin youth.

Then, when the fun is done and they are “ready” for a baby, their body has given up.

We might have got it wrong. I look at the young mums of my day who had babies like shelling peas and are now achieving far more in their 40s and 50s with grown up children than most of could squeeze into our insecure angst-wracked 20s and 30s.

By the time our babies came along doctors stamped our notes “ancient” as we creaked and clanked our way through nine months and hideous deliveries to become exhausted wrecks for the next decade.

Now women aged 55-plus are queuing for IVF treatment at the British clinic that treated the nation's oldest mum.

Fourteen is too young but 18? A society of energetic healthy young mums bouncing into the workforce in their 30s probably is preferable to geriatric wrung-out mothers leaving poor primary school orphans.

Standing up to my knees in mud in the middle of dim marshland at dusk, shouting at the top of my voice and hearing it echo back in vain, I look anything but a competent dog owner.

Running like a mad woman yelling “leave it” at my naughty headstrong two-year-old Golden Retriever who is launching himself gleefully at ramblers minding their own business, I look like a prime case for doggy social services.

Climbing over gates and wading through slurry to try to corner my hound chasing wildlife, I fear a canine ASBO.

When my soppy furry lump goes runabout after a scent, as he does on most “walks”, he would challenge the skills of the toughest Doggy Borstal sergeant major.

He causes havoc wherever he goes. But nice havoc. He has to “say hello” with gusto. But he's harmless. He just likes people more than dogs. I just hope those people like dogs as much as he likes them.

Like most males in my experience, he has very selective hearing, especially if something more interesting is within smell or view.

Despite my best efforts at training, I've failed to nurture a well-behaved dog or demonstrate any competence of control whatsoever.

When he's ignoring my call and out of sight after a scent, he is out of control however many doggy treats I wave at him.

So I keep him on a lead in civilised company.

But I would never have passed any “competence test” the Government might impose to try to regulate dog ownership, so I would never have been allowed my beloved pet even though the only danger he poses to the public is to love them to death.

The Government is planning to make all us sops who choose daffy softy breeds for their family-friendly nature fork out for silly unnecessary tests to prove we are responsible dog owners, take out third party insurance in case our animals bite a stranger and pay for subcutaneous micro chips.

And all to sort out the toothless, excuse the pun, Dangerous Dogs act that does nothing to protect society from dangerous dogs.

So every owner of a Labrador, Chihuahua, and spaniel will have to pay for the Government to try to squeeze out these dogs bred and rained to be ferocious, fight and be used as weapons because the current legislation isn't working.

Wrong targets yet again. Penalising the responsible and law-abiders because the Government is failing to deal with the real offenders.

I feel a four-legged march on Westminster coming on.

Perhaps we could decorate the railings of The House with responsibly filled dog poo bags to show our displeasure - and how seriously we take our responsibility for our dogs.

Apologies to all 4x4 drivers offended by my previous railings against them as gas-guzzling air polluting planet wreckers.

Apparently my dog has the equivalent carbon footprint to a 4x4, according to green campaigners on Radio 4.

Dogs eat so much meat they can never be green so nor can their owners. Fancy that?

The biggest shocker of the week?

Not that Tory donor and deputy party chairman Lord Ashcroft does not pay UK tax on earnings outside Britain, not that Simon Cowell is to marry a woman he's just met, not Wayne Bridges snubbing John Terry's handshake, not even John Terry's dreadful Mohican scare-cut.

The biggest shocker of the week was that Barack Obama is a smoker.

Discovering that he-can-do-no-wrong squeaky clean Obama enjoys the odd sneaky fag and had been ticked off by doctors for having too many had the same shock factor as catching the Pope round the back of the Vatican with his baccy tin of roll-ups.

In the world of fractious celebrity relationships, one staying the course is the union of the Alice in Wonderland director Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter.

Dubbed Mr and Mrs Mad Hatter for their unconventionality, the secret of their happiness and that of their children is their adjoining houses.

Both need their own space. He's an insomniac and snores and she chats too much. Space brings them closeness.

More importantly they're happy to admit it publicly.

Sounds more like good old-fashioned compromise and give and take for me. Two homes.

If only every couple could afford it divorce rates would plummet.

Two petrol stations in Lowestoft were robbed at the weekend.

Nothing unusual about that. It happens all the time.

But for the worker behind the counter being threatened and terrified half to death it was hardly just another day.

Robberies should still be unusual.

We should still feel outraged that an ordinary person at work to pay their bills was intimidated and frightened for their life by a low-life who thought he could just take what's not his by force and fear.

Robbery victims take months to recover, if at all.

But we're so blasé, immune even. Just another robbery.

But robberies ruin lives. Trauma haunts the victims for years bringing flashbacks and anxiety attacks.

They might seem humdrum in a couple of newspaper column inches but the reality is still horrific - and a nasty piece of work has hotfooted it off with money that's not his.

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