Get up off the dirty floor!

I heard this admonishment in my head this morning – a sound bite from my childhood, triggered by the sight of someone sitting waiting for a bus with her feet in the gutter.

I think it says something about a person’s self-respect; if you don’t mind being on the pavement amongst the litter, chewing gum and dog shit then you don’t really care much about yourself. If you prefer getting your clothes damp and dirty instead of enduring a few minutes standing up then you must be quite lazy.

However, it’s a cultural thing too. The concept of decorum is now quite old-fashioned and quaint. People choose to sit on the floor much more than they ever used to. Under-25’s apparently find it the natural thing to do. Which leads me to the conclusion that British self-respect has diminished. We no longer feel upright and proud.

Our national presentation is one of a people who have ‘given up’. In one of the most prosperous countries on earth, bowed, recumbent inanimate bodies litter the public pavements and railway concourses like refugees.

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