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Manners: do we still need them?

British manners and courtesy are renowned throughout the world, usually with respect and appreciation, but occasionally with some humour and amusement as to how finicky and conventional we, as a race, used to be. Manners and courtesy are, for me, an intrinsic part human behaviour, having been evolved over centuries to ease and organise social interaction without offence. They should not be seen as a benchmark of social status, but they are often perceived as such. True, good manners, courtesy and politeness, in British terms must be taught, and I must say that I was assiduously educated by my parents with their rather unbending rules of behaviour for an English gentleman, a Victorian English gentleman at that!

 But to a degree manners, courtesy and politeness are instinctive, and although I had the benefit of ‘correct’ teaching, I have met hundreds of people in my life whose natural, intuitive courtesies and demeanour have been a delight and a privilege to experience without them having a clue how one holds one’s knife, the correct sequence of cutlery use, or how one might escort a lady to dinner. It doesn’t matter, provided that respect and goodwill are key to the encounter from all quarters, ……especially from the British ‘stiff’!

 So with our lengthy national history of chivalry, politeness and intrinsic good manners, I have high expectations of my compatriots, elementary standards being the minimum requirement. But I’m afraid that even elementary standards have entirely bypassed a significant proportion of the UK population and their behaviour both at home and abroad are beginning to destroy our prized reputation and create a reverse impression. Which Brit has not travelled abroad to be embarrassed and disgusted by his compatriot’s behaviour, language, disrespect, dress sense and general vulgarity? With a large swathe of our young adults, oafish behaviour has become the norm and the sight of inebriated British youths in almost every UK town and European holiday resort is a daily occurrence.

 Sadly Britain is gaining a reputation as the land of slobs and hooligans. And sadder still such epithets are not confined to the British male, but now also to some of our girls whose morality, modesty and demeanour, once admired, have plunged to such depths of excess and disgust as to render them a sick caricature of womanhood. Even some of our top sportsmen in Football, Rugby and Cricket have much to answer for, as have some of their moronic fans. And could I make the simple but undeniable observation that football shirts only ever look good when gracing the toned torso of footballers ON THE FIELD!! They look ridiculous, tacky and vulgar stretched over the distended abdomen of so many of football's unfit aficionados – best advice: stick with the hat and scarf on match days ONLY!

I recently had a pleasant evening at a renowned restaurant marred by the presence of a party of bad mannered, loud and inappropriately dressed people at an adjacent table, and I wasn’t alone in my displeasure as I scanned my fellow diners. Had this party’s impact been limited to the visual we might perhaps have been tolerant, but their loud, frequently obscene, conversation coupled with table manners which would have embarrassed a starving baboon made them impossible to ignore.

Of course the fault lay not with these oafs, but with the restaurant in admitting them to their establishment in the first place. Whoever, greeted this party on arrival had obviously been intimidated and, wishing to avoid ‘a scene’ had ushered them through, instead of calling the manager, who might perhaps have pointed out their deficiencies in the restaurant’s dress code and asked them to patronise a more appropriate venue. The awful truth for this restaurant is that I will not be patronising them again any-time soon, and I am guessing quite a few of my fellow diners will share this course of action.

 Today in Britain we are terrified of making value judgements lest the PC police should haul us off to the PC prison where people with standards and opinions are thrown to consider the error of their ways. I’m sorry but I do have standards, I do have opinions and, like it or not, they are correct. Where I see garbage in any of its forms I am apt to say “That’s garbage!” instead of seeking some political mitigation, some tolerance, some social excuse for the patently unacceptable.

 We as a nation have got to stand up and seize back our country, our customs, our courtesies, our standards of acceptable behaviour, re-enforcing them back into our society. We can’t be divided by the lowest common denominator in order to allow all to share our rights and privileges. There lies disaster! We must endeavour to elevate the lowest to an adequate minimum standard of everything that makes us British; language, traditions, manners, culture and behaviour. We do this by not voting, approving or accepting anything that smacks of political correctness, or the insidious erosion of what we know to be right. The permissive reptiles who are ruining our country with their inclusive idiocy and Uriah Heep-like obsequiousness to all things average, non-competitive, cheap and mundane are currently winning the fight and we, the silent majority, need to wake up!

 Uh Oh! ......the nurse is coming with my medication so I’d better stop my dictatorial ranting and get back on message……


So Yes, we do need manners. In fact we need them more than ever. One of the really nice things about being involved with Country Attire is our customers. They range far and wide from all over the world and they are such a pleasant group of people. We see many hundreds of them every year at our UK country shows and it’s always a delight to meet and talk to them and get their views. They are generally noted by their manners, politeness and courtesy, seeming to recognise in us an establishment where such qualities are prized and reflected by both the demeanour of our staff and the high quality British brands we purvey.

 But being a predominately online retailer, we interact with most of our customers via email and telephone. What comes across from these people is similarly courtesy, goodwill and politeness. This is, we hope, a reflection of the service and products we offer them, as we are adamant that courtesy and politeness are fundamental to our everyday customer service, plus our promise to ‘go the extra mile’ if necessary to assure our customer’s satisfaction.

Indeed, we do get an inordinate number of delighted comments, accolades and endorsements from our customers and these can be seen at Trustpilot by clicking here. These are unsolicited testimonials, for which we are most grateful, but gaining a Five Star rating with a score of 9.8 out of 10 is an outstanding achievement which we aim to better.