Should there be a legislation passed that would oblige people to flush after they leave the cubicle of a public convinience? And should there be a national debate before such a law is passed, with politicians and lawyers and human rights campaigners providing their take on flushing? Just like it’s happening now with the passionate discussion of whether Muslim women can wear a veil in court or while passing through airport security?
I raise the all important issue of flushing because more and more people don’t do it as a matter of principle when they use public conveniences. Some have been known to claim that it was their basic human right to leave the evidence of their visit to a public toilet and walk away. And some have been known to point out that the same applies to their refusal to wash their hands after going to the shitter and just proceed with whatever it was they were doing. And as there is no law forcing people to flush and wash their hands after using a public toilet there’s nothing really that anyone can do about it at the moment. Just like with women wearing veils in all sorts of awkward situations, like when they do a photo for their passport.
Human rights campaigners have been pointing out that no one should be forced to flush in public toilets, just like no one should be obliged to wash their hands after a dump. ‘I feel strongly about human rights,’ Stella Disproportionate told Stirring Trouble. ‘Where does it say that we must waste water on flushing and washing our hands after vising a public toilet? Water is scarce these days, so people may just as well use the toilet after someone else has been there and feel proud that they have made a contribution to saving the planet.’
Environmentalist groups have in general supported the idea of not flushing in public places, to save water, saying that a law obliging people to flush may actually force some of them to go against their deep rooted green beliefs. At the moment, according to experts, about 40 per cent of people in Britain don’t flush after using a public convenience, up 27 per cent since the 1960s, saving 500,000,000 litres of water a year. But if a law is introduced the waste of water can surpass even those amounts, as people might be tempted to flush twice, to do away with the excrement.
But the issue of not flushing has religious undertones as well. A sect that operates in North England and parts of Wales bans its members from flushing in public toilets. Yes, this ancient sect that dates back to the 1960s views flushing as a sin that prevents people from bonding with each other and living as one big community. The ritual supposes that sect members just do their thing and it is somebody else who has to flush after them, if they feel they can’t sit on the bog when it has been used by others. This tradition goes back centuries, according to the supreme spiritual leader of the sect, Billy Undetected. Flushing is a sign of weakness, Billy told Stirring Trouble. You leave a part of you behind and walk tall and proud away from it. Why should you feel obliged to flush?
But the issue of flushing in public toilets has already attracted so much attention that the government is currently planning to hold a debate in parliament on the matter and there’s even a chance that the pressing issue will be put to a referendum. Opponents and supporters of enforced flushing are equally eloquent and passionate about this issue, pointing out that all sorts of legal complications might arise if this is not resolved in a civilised and democratic way. Some of them argue that proper research into the matter needs to be conducted, before any dramatic conclusions are made.
Meanwhile some far right extremists with vile agendas are saying that it’s all bollocks really and people should find something else better to do than talk about flushing, proving once again that the right is out of touch with what the majority of the nation stands for.