Archive for the ‘Manners’ Category

Juncker the European Commission President –  a man who knows a bit about pubs and bars, likens Brexit to buying a round of drinks for 28 in a pub and then discovering one wants to leave without paying.

Well no Mr Juncker. The real analogy is a bloke in a pub who has paid for every round of drinks in 44 of the last 45 years, and for many years was only one of two blokes who paid for the round, has decided that actually he’d like to leave the pub for the last time and doesn’t understand why his extreme generosity over the years should be traduced in such a way.





Read Full Post »


I have been appalled at some of the language and bile that’s been pouring out of the twitterati and elsewhere. One thing it is not is British as I have always understood the meaning of that term. I’m upset that many young people are blaming their parent’s post war generation on the sole grounds that we don’t have as long to live and be as affected by the result as they will, and as if we too don’t have the same concerns for the future of our grandchildren and genuinely believe we are better off out, just as much as they believe we would be better off in.

I was particularly incensed by the article by Giles Coren in the UK’s Times  on  Saturday. (see below). I shudder to think what his celebrated and genuinely funny and decent father would have thought. It’s so full of bile and hate that I was astounded and expected better from him. I thought I’d see what he was writing on the twittersphere and just couldn’t believe the foul language, and equally surprising were many similar comments full of hatred from his followers. Metropolitan London are quick to cry hate crime elsewhere. They need to seriously look at the motes in their own eyes and be careful the boys in blue don’t start calling.

The Giles Coren Article. Times UK – Saturday 25 June 2016

I had lunch with my mother on Wednesday and as our starters were being cleared away she turned to me and said, “So, Giles, how are you going to vote tomorrow?”

And I replied, “why?” because I sniffed a trap. I’m not saying my mother loves a lunchtime broigus, it’s just that she doesn’t usually ask a question unless she already has a strong opinion of her own fired up and ready to go.

On this, I was guessing she was for Brexit. My mother was (and remains) a great admirer of Margaret Thatcher, almost always votes Conservative, has an abhorrence of bureaucracy and red tape thanks to 40 years working in the NHS (and owning a house in France) and voted to leave the EEC in 1975.

And so her answer astonished me.

“I’m asking because whatever you vote, I’ll vote,” she said. “After all, I’m going to be dead soon so it doesn’t matter what I think. I won’t be affected.”

If only every older person in Britain had had the humility to think the same way this week and pass on their vote to a generation more likely to be affected by the result. We’d still be in Europe this morning. We’d be laughing at how ridiculous it was to have had a referendum in the first place and just getting on with our lives.

For make no mistake, it is the old people who did this to us. I assume you have seen the voting breakdown by age? In the 18-24 group it was 64 per cent to Remain and 24 per cent to Leave. In the 25-49 age group it was 45 per cent to 39. Only in the 50-64 bracket does the balance shift, going over to 49 per cent for Leave, as against 35 for Remain. And then among the over-65s it was an astonishing 58 per cent for Leave, against 33 per cent for Remain.

The less time a person had left on earth to live and face up to their decision, in other words, the more likely they were to vote to leave the European Union.

The wrinkly bastards stitched us young ’uns up good and proper on Thursday. From their stair lifts and their Zimmer frames, their electric recliner beds and their walk-in baths, they reached out with their wizened old writing hands to make their wobbly crosses and screwed their children and their children’s children for a thousand generations. (Except my mother — who wants it made clear that she was for Leave anyway.)

I always knew it would turn out this way. From the moment the referendum was called, the polls showed a massive majority for Leave in the over-65 group — bigger than any differential in wage, education, geographical location or political leaning. And it was how I formed my eventual decision to vote Remain. I just knew that I could not vote with the old people. Because old people are always wrong. About everything.

Take global warming, for example. In all opinion surveys that I have seen, belief in anthropogenic global warming declines every year after the age of 25. In other words, the likelihood of a person accepting the truth of global warming is inversely proportional to the likelihood of their being alive to see its disastrous effects. Is it because people become more stupid with age? I wouldn’t presume to say so. Although obviously Nigel Lawson has. But mainly it’s just that they give less and less of a damn what happens to the rest of us as time goes on.

The older people get, the more they think they have earned the right to do and think whatever they damn well please. And this leads to their being wrong. About everything. Not just about elasticated waistbands, brightly coloured outerwear, fluffy little pale blue hairdos, big chunky spectacles, beige trousers, Countdown and young people today. About everything.

Older people care less and less what happens to the rest of us

Take recycling. Old people never recycle anything. They think it’s all mumbo jumbo. And why should they bother? After all, by the time that bottle of milk stout is crushed, melted and made into another bottle of milk stout, they’ll be far too dead to enjoy it. They can’t work the TV, they can’t hear their mobile phone or answer it if they do hear it, they don’t understand the self-checkout at the supermarket or why there aren’t price tags on things anymore …

And then of course there is immigration. A report for the World Bank in 2012 found that, “It is old people everywhere who oppose immigration the most, across the board. In every country for which we have data (except Sweden) older natives disproportionately oppose immigration, regardless of income, education and employment status.”

And that is despite the fact that it is old people who benefit most from immigration, seeing as they no longer compete in the labour market and require, or will soon require, the sort of care that is made cheaper by immigrant labour. But, oh no, old people are against immigration because, well, because they are wrong about everything.

Should they have been allowed to vote in this referendum? I’m not sure that they should have been. A general election, yes. Everyone should get a say on what happens over the next five years. But over the next 50? I don’t think so. Not if you’re not going to be there to face it.

And don’t go telling me that we owe at least a debt of respect to the elderly. Respect for what? Don’t confuse the elderly of today with the elderly of the recent past. This lot did not fight a war (not many of them). They didn’t free us from the yoke of tyranny. They didn’t live in modesty and hardship and hunger so that future generations might thrive. They just enjoyed high employment, good pay, fat benefits, enormous pension privileges, international travel, the birth of pop music and lashings of free sex. We don’t owe them a thing. We should cut them off. Rewrite the franchise to start at 16 and end at 60 and do this thing all over again.

We won’t, of course. So we will be compelled to make our strength of feeling felt in smaller, subtler ways. In fact it is already happening. As early as lunchtime on Friday, Twitter was showing 15,000 retweets of what may come to be the standout mantra for Brexit 2016:

“I’m never giving up my seat on the train for an old person again.”

The Times


Read Full Post »

Room 101 is the torture room in Orwell’s 1948 novel 1984. It’s also the name of a BBC program in which celebrities tell us which items/people/ideas etc.. that they’d like to put in room 101.

This continuing thread will contain my own candidates for room 101. Starting with…

Men who wear sunglasses pushed back on their forehead.
Fine for ladies, but chaps, please, stop posing.

People who preface every answer to a question they’re asked with ‘so….’ Not entirely sure when this first started but it seems all too prevalent these days.

“I was sat”
People who always get the tense and participle of the verb ‘be’ wrong. No they weren’t physically forced down in their seat, they were ‘sitting’ not ‘sat’. Challenge anyone who says this in the wrong way. Ask them if they’d equally say . “I was swam…”

Mobile phones used in inappropriate places or circumstances
The lack of etiquette really drives me mad, particularly in social situations. How many times do you see a group of people entering a restaurant and the first thing they do is get out their phones and start blipping away. Do they not realise how rude this is. Similarly people who when in direct conversation choose to answer their phone rather than continue a normal conversation. Best demonstrated by the character ‘Tilly’ played by Sally Phillips in the BBC comedy Miranda with her ‘Bear with, bear with’ comment – see here two minutes into the video.

People who deface their bodies with tattoos. Particularly the large scale tribal tattoos which seem so common these days. This one is totally incomprehensible to me. OK I can understand that matelots of a certain age have tattoos of anchors, chains, dragons, ropes and similar, but they at least have the excuse of being away on long voyages with nothing much else to occupy them in foreign ports.

Read Full Post »

Why is it that women in checkout queues are totally unprepared for making payment? It seems to come as a complete surprise to most, and they spend precious seconds scrabbling around in bags and purses looking for either cash or cards.

Not only that but instead of tendering their bank card once the last item has been blipped through, they waste time continuing with the packing process, and only when the last item is safely in their bag or trolley do they start the process of fumbling for their card or cash. Don’t they realise that the payment process can be taking place in parallel with the packing process, thus saving time and the frustration of others in the queue behind them?

And no, it’s not just because it’s Christmas and queues are longer than normal. It’s something I’ve observed over the years at all times.

Read Full Post »

Ross and Brand

If anything sums up the generational gap, it’s the reaction to the disgraceful episode of the abuse suffered by Andrew Sachs at the hands of Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand in their BBC radio programme. Vox pop interviews yesterday clearly demonstrate that in general the younger generation think there has been a complete over-reaction. They cite the fact that these two ‘peformers’ are always on the edge, everyone ‘knows’ what they are like and that modern comedians must be allowed latitude.

This neatly sums up what a large part of this blog is about: the decline in manners. The plain fact is that a significant and large proportion of the older generation think that Ross and Brand were completely and totally out of order. The BBC received over 10,000 complaints (now 18,000 up 8,000 in a few hours, and latterly well over 35000), which is a phenomenal response on anyone’s scale.

The fact that a large majority have been upset by this is the whole point. It’s no good the younger generation trying to pass this off as acceptable. There are absolute standards in the decent treatment of others and the Ross Brand abuse was completely unacceptable. No ifs or buts, totally and unquestionably wrong.

The BBC itself has a lot of explaining to do so I’ll return to this aspect in another thread.

Read Full Post »

Good evening,

Tonight, whilst enjoying my usual Friday night beer and curry at home with my wife, and in an idle moment, I happened to read the label on my usual bottle of Abbot Ale. Not something that I usually do since I’m usually paying more attention to savouring its contents.

However, read the label I did, and I was disappointed to read a rather patronising instruction. The small print on the back says: “Please take as much care enjoying our drinks as we do brewing them”, and then in bolder font: ‘Drink Sensibly’ – both words with an initial capital, (why?).

If this is some attempt at political correctness and a desire to be seen as socially responsible, then please drop it. I do not want anyone, and that includes government and manufacturers, to tell me what to do: least of all when it comes to advice about food and drink.If this is some mistaken attempt to get at those who have problems with responsible drinking, – and we all know who we’re talking about here, then please consider this. Those sorts of people are not I suggest the sort who buy Abbot ale, least of all to partake in the comfort of their own home. Such a warning is completely lost to them and just hacks off people like me.

Please review your policy on labeling and let me know whether you will drop this rather silly instruction. Yours etc.,

Read Full Post »

On the train from Manchester to Liverpool the other morning, I was sitting opposite two young girls, probably in their mid twenties. They were wearing similar clothing, and in particular the same sort of headgear. 

Nothing surprising in that you might think, except that embroidered across the front of the hats were the words, “It’s none of your f****ing business”, in a quite readable and noticeable size. And I’ve asterisked that word which was spelt out in full. 

Well I’m sorry, it is my business. It becomes my business because it coarsens the society in which we all have to rub along with each other. I’m at a complete loss to understand why anyone would would want to walk around with such an aggressive label on their head.  It was bad enough that it was two young girls. What seemed to make it even worse was that they were clearly part of the influx of new immigrants from Eastern Europe. It’s bad enough having our own citizens who stoop to this sort of thing, but it seems even more inappropriate that it should be guests in the country who were doing this. 

Am I being unduly sensitive and intolerant, or does anyone else think as I do? 

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: