Linda Colling: Absolutely slack

Joanna Lumley
Joanna Lumley
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WHATEVER happened to good manners and common courtesy?

Not one child or teenager did the decent thing on an express bus from Newcastle to Washington last Saturday.

Instead of being offered a seat, an immaculately-dressed lady in her 80s was left to hang on desperately to keep her feet.

What a disgrace. And what poverty-stricken parenting. Sitting on the bus with MP3 players in their ears, these kids could ignore that old lady because they don’t know any better.

And that’s because no one tells them. Not one parent told their child to give up their seat.

Today bairns might have mobiles and iPads a-plenty but thousands have no moral guidance in their lives, no one telling them what’s right from wrong.

“Slack” morals is how Absolutely Fabulous star Joanna Lumley called it when she sounded off in an interview with the Radio Times bemoaning: “We are very slack with our moral codes for children these days. Nowadays children find it laughably amusing to shoplift and steal.”

And the 64-year-old contrasted her schooldays when the only “crime” during the whole time she was at school was a fountain pen going missing.

Millions will identify with those days, when, as she says: “I was taught not to shoplift, not to steal, not to behave badly. We weren’t even allowed to drop litter.”

And I wonder whatever happened to “please” and “thank you”.

Being polite doesn’t come naturally to so many children the way it once did. Once we were brought up to have respect for our elders.

We didn’t need a sign on the bus telling us that children paying half fare had to give their seat to an adult. We just did it because we knew it was the right thing to do.

Respect is not what it used to be. And it’s not just for other people but for oneself.

How standards have been eroded, especially in homes where parents don’t stand their ground and principles are compromised on the altar of peer pressure and advertising ploys.

It’s pathetic and it’s not doing children any favours to give into them. The hardest thing we all know is to say “no” and mean it.

Ash Wednesday tomorrow, so what are you giving up for Lent I asked my funny friend Pauline?

“Tea and coffee.” she replied. The reason being she doesn’t drink either.

The thing is so many have given up giving up for Lent, a time of pentinence for Christians in preparation for Easter.

Catholics have been urged to give up meat or another favourite food on Fridays by the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and leader of Catholics in England and Wales.

The 40-day period of Lent should be marked by the faithful with an act of self-denial. It’s like New year’s resolutions.

They start off well but fall by the wayside.

Why? Because we don’t want to deny ourselves anything that would really mean we feel the loss.

Discipline yourself Linda....I’m giving up Greggs’ pasties and sitting on the concrete blocks in the town.