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Rude Britannia

Who gives a **** about good manners? Once it was liberating to loosen the British upper lip. Now incivility is so rampant it's an issue of social policy, this may be the price of a wealthier, more dynamic nation

By Michael Elliott   May 2001

Years ago, when I was a child of nine or ten-this must have been about 1960-I went out to play with my friend John. His father opened the door, and said that he wanted to talk to me. Apparently I’d been using “bad words” in front of John, and he’d repeated them to his little sisters. John’s father, a kind and gentle man, was furious. He marched me back home to tell my parents of my misdeeds. Apart from a deep sense of grievance-40 years on, I’m still convinced that it was John who taught me the swear words-I knew…

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