Sunday 25 September 2016

Ann Widdecombe: Thank you texts offer 'glorious spontaneity'

Published 28/12/2015 | 11:46

Ann Widdecombe is tackling the subject of etiquette in her new series
Ann Widdecombe is tackling the subject of etiquette in her new series

Ann Widdecombe wants parents to get their children writing thank you letters - even if they just send a message in "text speak".

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The former MP said there was "a glorious spontaneity" in a text sent after unwrapping a present such as "Thanks Gran, u r gr8".

"There are those who lament the substitution of text for the handwritten letter, but 'thanks Gran, u r gr8', sent in the moment of unwrapping, has a glorious spontaneity and gratitude, which the ritual letter does not," she wrote in a column for the Radio Times.

The 68-year-old was promoting her new BBC Radio 4 series, The Etiquette Guide, which will explore the art of manners and how etiquette rules have varied through history and geography.

She said: "Those of a certain age can remember when opening a door for a lady, rising when one entered a room and giving up your seat to her on a train were mandatory for any well-brought-up man. Then he was rewarded by a smile. Now he'd be greeted with a lecture on equality."

Widdecombe said her experience in the House of Commons provided her with a wealth of knowledge on manners and etiquette.

She added: "I spent my working life in a place of profound rudeness disguised by elaborate manners. 'The Right Honourable gentleman is in danger of misleading the House' means 'he's a blinking liar'."

But despite her time in parliament, she admitted there is one rude habit she has not been able to shift - mopping up her gravy with a bit of bread.

:: This week's Radio Times goes on sale from Tuesday December 29.

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