THIS is perhaps not the ideal week to be writing about entitlement – or at least, the entitled behaviour of those who do not wear crowns, travel in gold carriages or expect anyone to swear oaths of allegiance to them.

But regardless of rank, we all must park our bottoms somewhere, whether it’s on a throne in Westminster Abbey or on a cassette toilet in a campervan in Barra. And while there was much displeasure last week about the Stone of Destiny heading to London for Charles’s big day, there was across-the-board fury at the news of human waste from a motorhome allegedly being dumped into a stream in the Western Isles.

The one consolation here, for those who live in areas frequently visited by such menaces, was that we learned about this alleged incident due to Police Scotland charging a man in connection with it. For once, someone might be held accountable and publicly shamed.

What’s most infuriating about visitors dumping, polluting, littering and fire-starting at Scotland’s beauty spots is that very the folk doing it are, presumably, themselves there to enjoy the unspoilt surroundings. It simply makes no sense. The only explanation is that some people feel entitled to do whatever they please, regardless of the consequences for anyone else.

Still, one would assume there is a difference in mindset between, say, the inner-city litterbug who tosses their takeaway packaging from the car on their way home from the drive-thru – and perhaps neither notices nor cares about any other litter they see when driving or walking about – and the person who goes to all the bother of purchasing or renting a large, purpose-built vehicle with the specific aim of enjoying clean air, beautiful landscapes and fresh lochs.

Why go to all that time and expense only to ruin it for whoever comes up the road behind you, and indeed risk the wrath of locals who are at the end of their collective tether? I’m surprised no-one has thought to strategically place a few wicker men within view of popular dumping sites, just to keep a suitably foreboding eye on things. (I suppose the extra footfall from those seeking selfies might cancel out any benefit.)

Extraordinarily entitled behaviour is not limited to those visiting rural locations. Increasingly, if someone mentions they are planning a trip to one of Scotland’s wildest spots, they might well be referring to an evening at the theatre. Here, the entitled behaviour of a wild minority doesn’t just spoil things for the civilised majority – it can ruin or even curtail the very entertainment everyone is there to enjoy.

Outrageous audience behaviour made the headlines last month when a performance of the stage musical The Bodyguard in Manchester was halted after audience members began brawling and the police had to be called. Ironically, earlier that week the theatre union Bectu had launched a new campaign, Anything Doesn’t Go, to tackle what it called “increasing and extreme anti-social behaviour from UK theatre audiences”.

READ MORE: Former Tory MP Ross Thomson welcomes Donald Trump to Scotland

The campaign followed a survey of more than 1500 mainly front-of-house workers that found 90% had experienced bullying, violence, intimidation, harassment or abuse at work.

“We’re not just talking here about someone singing a bit too enthusiastically during a performance or playing on their mobile phone,” the union stressed, citing examples of verbal abuse, threats and assault, frequently fuelled by alcohol consumption.

The launch came two months after two people were arrested after a disturbance (and the alleged punching of a staff member) during a performance of Jersey Boys at the Edinburgh Playhouse.

The venue’s theatre director Colin Marr told the BBC that audience behaviour has significantly worsened since the pandemic, and that while most patrons are embarrassed to be told off by ushers, others become aggressive. “The reaction is, ‘I have paid for my ticket, I don’t care if other people can’t see or hear’,” he said.

Once again, it can be hard to fathom the logic. Theatre tickets are not cheap, disposable incomes have fallen, and for many going to a show is a long-awaited treat. Where is the sense in getting so drunk beforehand that at best your bladder won’t hold out until the interval, and at worst you’ll be escorted off the premises before the curtain call?

How have so many people forgotten how to behave in public?

In an article published last spring in American magazine The Atlantic, headed “Why people are acting so weird”, Olga Khazan wrote: “During the pandemic, disorderly, rude, and unhinged conduct seems to have caught on as much as bread baking and Bridgerton.” She highlights the loosening of social bonds, and quotes Harvard sociologist Robert Sampson as saying: “When we become untethered, we tend to prioritise our own private interests over those of others or the public.”

Let’s hope that with time – and an end to the current lurching from one crisis to the next – those social bonds can be re-established, and it won’t take police intervention to make either holiday-makers or theatre-goers see that the world does not, in fact, revolve around them.