This morning my radio news was boasting the success of the England’s women football team in the World Cup semi-final, and rightly so. They made me proud to be English and glad that I live in Petersfield, England.

But my delight at this sporting success was soon numbed as I took my daily walk across Petersfield town centre and on to the lake and the heath. 

I hadn’t walked a few hundred yards before I encountered the big disappointment. 

The town-centre car park had its usual litter and rubbish mixed in with grit, strewn about the place. Litter bins were overflowing, and one bin had rubbish and unfinished takeaways strewn about the pavement nearby. 

But all this had been there the day before. I deliberately did not pick it up then, thinking, hoping, that other proud citizens, or even the local authority, would soon be along to clear away this mess and empty the bins.

This morning I cleared as much of the mess away as I could and found a bin empty enough to accommodate this rubbish, other people’s rubbish. Many of the bins were overflowing. 

Who would leave or throw their rubbish into or near an already-overflowing bin? Were they happily celebrating their pride and delight in England’s women’s football team while happily throwing their rubbish on England’s streets? 

And what of those fine citizens who happily ignored the mess, parked beside it, stepped over it... nothing to do with me mate.

Were they happily celebrating their pride in England’s women’s football team too? 

But where is their pride when it comes ignoring the litter on England’s streets? 

And what of the local authorities?

I wonder if they have any pride at all in our part of England or, indeed, in England itself.  

It seems our small town has the town council, East Hampshire District Council and Hampshire County Council; all responsible but with no overall one management system for this litter and rubbish problem.

That lack of coordinated management is, I think, the main reason why our town is so scruffy. Yes, scruffy with rubbish and grit and weeds everywhere. 

This scruffiness is not us. We are better than this.

By Glenn McLernon