Belfast Telegraph

Ann Widdecombe: Thank you texts offer 'glorious spontaneity'

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

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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