Scabies, England - New research has found that northerners are dirtier than southerners. The study, conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, says the further north people live, the less likely they are to wash their hands after going to the toilet.
"Since I live in the south now, it wasn't all that shocking to me," said the study's principal researcher, Dr Sessive Compulsive, wiping his office doorknob with a tissue after ushering in this reporter.
Dr Compulsive explained the methods and findings of his study, whilst nervously picking under his fingernails.
"We took random swabs from the hands of 409 commuters in London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Liverpool and Newcastle. Then we analyzed the samples for faecal material, shit basically."
"The cleanest hands were in the south. Only 13% of Londoners had shit on their hands whilst 44% of the Newcastle sample was contaminated with faecal bugs," shared Dr Sessive Compulsive, now sitting on his hands.
"Our findings suggest that northerners just don't bother washing their hands after going to the toilet. Of course, more research is needed, but someone else can do that," he grimaced, adding "It still bugs me that my parents named me Sessive."
The north-south divide has long been a point of derision in the general population of England.
Fastidious snob and social climber, Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced Bouquet) offered her unsolicited opinion, quickly pointed out that her sister Daisy and brother-in-law Onslow live considerably north of her address.
"Oh no dear, Daisy and Onslow live several streets to the north. I'm certain of that. They live in another postal code area altogether on the north side of the hygiene divide," sang out Mrs Bucket.
Spotting an unkempt Onslow in a torn and dirty t-shirt approaching her front door, Mrs Bucket quickly took away the tea and biscuits and ushered this reporter out the rear door, explaining the view of her hydrangeas was best seen from that exit.
Meanwhile Newcastle Geordies are not taking the research results about their lack of hygiene very seriously.
"We don't need some stuck up southern prig to lecture to us about hand washing," proclaimed a defiant Ferdie Magpie from Tynesdale.
"We're damned proud of our Newcastle Brown Ale and don't give a damn that the brewery workers there don't wash their hands after 'gannin te the netty' (going to the bathroom)."
In the scientific world, other researchers are questioning the interpretation of the study's results that northerners are dirtier than southerners.
"Their methodology is flawed," offered Dr Lilia Watersports from Newcastle University, biting her nails.
"They took the London samples at the bus stop right outside the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Clinic after a group support meeting. No wonder their hands were so clean."
Dr Watersports continued, "If they had taken the London samples from people outside Soho sex shops, massage parlours or gay saunas, like they did in Newcastle, the results would have been very different indeed."
"That being the case, we're pleased as punch that 54% of Geordies bother to wash their hands after frequenting such establishments," beamed Dr Watersports, still chewing on her nails.
"Controlling for these factors, our own study finds that southerners are just as dirty as we are, maybe more so. At least their minds are very dirty even if they do wash their hands of the matter," concluded Dr Watersports, with a suggestive nod for emphasis.
Meanwhile in London, the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Clinic is distraught by the revelation that 13% of its support group members came to their meeting with shit on their hands.
"The other 87% of our support group have now dropped out," said a despairing volunteer group leader, Ms Twitchy Fixated.
"We've completely lost our credibility. Who wants to go to an OCD help group and have coffee and donuts with people with - I can't even bring myself to say it - faeces, there I've said it - on their hands. The contamination effect of this study has effectively shut us down."
"Someone should stop these fools from publishing such crap research."