I have a bit of a love hate relationship with Keep Britain Tidy. Love because, well how can you object to the principle of keeping litter off the streets and open spaces of England. Hate because of its name, an organisation that operates only in England called Keep Britain tidy goes against every ‘bat sense’ I have.
Keep Britain Tidy announced a campaign with the start of the 2010 World Cup. This follows a poll that found “people think England is the ‘dirtiest’ country taking part in the tournament”. How nice !
It is hard to harbour much ill feeling towards an organisation that comes up with campaigns like ‘We don’t need Messi, C’mon England, Let’s keep it tidy!’ or to argue against their aims when litter “costs £780million every year to pick up each year… more than it cost to build the new Wembley Stadium!” however….
The latest campaign uses the flag of St.George as well as the encouragement of “‘Have some pride, C’mon England, Let’s keep it tidy!’” I know the organisation has pride in England, hence why it does not wish our streets to be litter strewn. I wish they would go a step further and show that pride in their name, become ‘Keep England Tidy’ (I would love them much more).
I can understand some have a nostalgic reason in keeping the name (created in 1955). The organisation has however changed its name on a few occasions. In 2001 they became ENCAMS (Environmental Campaigns). In 2005 they changed again when they started to work only in England with ‘Keep Scotland Beautiful’, ‘Keep Wales Tidy’ and ‘TIDY Northern Ireland’ falling under the devolved nations responsibility.
In June 2009 they changed their name yet again, the perfect chance for a new Keep England Tidy – Alas they instead chose to revert back to ‘Keep Britain Tidy’ (for an organisation operating only in England). This is where my love for them turned bitter-sweet.
So in Scotland they chose ‘Keep Scotland Beautiful’, in Wales they chose ‘Keep Wales Tidy’, in Northern Ireland they chose ‘TIDY Northern Ireland’ in England they chose ‘keep Britain tidy’…….. which is my biggest pet hate – Britain is NOT England, England is NOT Britain. So I am afraid my love hate relationship with Keep Britain Tidy continues.