Friday, July 01, 2011

Generation gap over etiquette

The mother in law below is perfectly correct and gives good advice about traditional British etiquette but young people tend to live in an "anything goes" world where such standards are like something from Mars.

It might be noted that the point of etiquette is to smooth over social relations and its basis is consideration of others. A British advice columnist sees the matter similarly

After having read the uncouth and unwise remarks of the father of the bride, however, there may also be a social class divide (as well as a generational divide) at work -- a hugely tense issue in Britain. The columnist I linked to above has some remarks on that

"Pray silence for the best man who will read out the mother-in-law's emails"

As any bride-to-be knows, making a good impression on one’s future mother-in-law is vital in ensuring that the big day goes according to plan. So when Heidi Withers received a vitriolic email apparently from her fiancé’s step-mother, accusing her of a lack of manners, it was clear she had not got off on the right foot.

Unfortunately things got a great deal worse when she forwarded the stern email to some of friends - who astonished by its tone - decided to give it a wider audience. In no time at all the email had gone viral, becoming an internet sensation, and reaching tens of thousands of readers.

Problems began when Miss Withers, 28, a PA, who lives with her fiancé Freddie Bourne in Fulham, west London, visited his parents at their home in Dawlish, Devon. Following the visit, Freddie’s step-mother, Carolyn Bourne, 60, a celebrated flower breeder, apparently fired off an email to her future daughter-in-law accusing her of being uncouth, rude and graceless.

The email said: “It is high time someone explained to you about good manners. Yours are obvious by their absence and I feel sorry for you.

It went on: “Your behaviour on your visit to Devon during April was staggering in its uncouthness and lack of grace.”

It added: “If you want to be accepted by the wider Bourne family I suggest you take some guidance from experts with utmost haste. There are plenty of finishing schools around. You would be an ideal candidate for the Ladette to Lady television series. Please, for your own good, for Freddie’s sake and for your future involvement with the Bourne family, do something as soon as possible.” The email said Miss Withers’ behaviour had been so rude that it had left the family dog, Bomber, traumatized, depressed and anxious.

Listing a litany of alleged transgressions, the email accused Miss Withers of staying in bed too late; complaining about the food; cracking inappropriate jokes about the family and failing to send a card thanking them for their hospitality. It also said: "You regularly draw attention to yourself. Perhaps you should ask yourself why...It is vulgar.”

In addition Mrs Bourne apparently criticised her future daughter-in-law’s plans for the wedding and said her aspirations were outstripping her finances.

The email said: “No one gets married in a castle unless they own it. It is brash, celebrity style behaviour. “I understand your parents are unable to contribute very much towards the cost of your wedding. (There is nothing wrong with that...) “If this is the case, it would be most ladylike and gracious to lower your sights and have a modest wedding as befits both your incomes.”

And in a stinging pay-off she apparently remarked: “One could be accused of thinking that Heidi Withers must be patting herself on the back for having caught a most eligible young man. I pity Freddie.”

Mr Bourne, 29, who runs an online bicycle shop, Capital Cycles, refused to comment on the email last night but conceded the matter had been discussed within the family. He said: “Obviously this has been discussed within the family but we are not commenting other than that.” Mr Bourne would not comment on whether the wedding was still going ahead.

Meanwhile Mrs Bourne, who runs Whetman Pinks Ltd nursery near Dawlish in Devon, also refused to be drawn on the content of the stinging email. Yesterday she was attending a Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) plant show at Stonleigh Park, Coventry, with her husband Edward.

Mr Bourne said: “We are aware of what is being said. I know it is very boring, very repetitive and very dull but we will not be making any comment and neither will my wife.”

Miss Withers, who has a 23-year-old sister, September, was keeping a low profile last night and there was no sign of her at the flat she shares with her fiancé. Her parents, Alan and Sylvia, who live in Ledbury, Herefordshire, were also not available for comment last night.

Miss Withers and Mr Bourne have been together for several years and enjoyed an extensive trip across the United States in 2009.
The letter

It is high time someone explained to you about good manners. Yours are obvious by their absence and I feel sorry for you.

Unfortunately for Freddie, he has fallen in love with you and Freddie being Freddie, I gather it is not easy to reason with him or yet encourage him to consider how he might be able to help you. It may just be possible to get through to you though. I do hope so.

If you want to be accepted by the wider Bourne family I suggest you take some guidance from experts with utmost haste. There are plenty of finishing schools around.

Please, for your own good, for Freddie’s sake and for your future involvement with the Bourne family, do something as soon as possible.

Here are a few examples of your lack of manners:

* When you are a guest in another’s house, you do not declare what you will and will not eat – unless you are positively allergic to something. You do not remark that you do not have enough food. You do not start before everyone else. You do not take additional helpings without being invited to by your host.

* When a guest in another’s house, you do not lie in bed until late morning in households that rise early – you fall in line with house norms.

* You should never ever insult the family you are about to join at any time and most definitely not in public. I gather you passed this off as a joke but the reaction in the pub was one of shock, not laughter.

* You should have hand-written a card to me. You have never written to thank me when you have stayed.

* You regularly draw attention to yourself. Perhaps you should ask yourself why.

* No one gets married in a castle unless they own it. It is brash, celebrity style behaviour.

I understand your parents are unable to contribute very much towards the cost of your wedding. (There is nothing wrong with that except that convention is such that one might presume they would have saved over the years for their daughters’ marriages.)

If this is the case, it would be most ladylike and gracious to lower your sights and have a modest wedding as befits both your incomes.


Day Britain defied the militants: Schools are hit hard, but chaos elsewhere fails to materialise

Militant union leaders yesterday failed in their plans to bring Britain to a grinding halt. Only schools suffered serious disruption as hundreds of thousands of teachers walked out in strikes across the country. But the promised paralysis of the public sector machine failed to materialise.

Official estimates suggest up to eight in ten civil servants heeded calls to keep the country moving by going to work despite industrial action over pension reforms.

Downing Street insisted there had been 'minimal disruption' at border checkpoints, courts, driving test centres, coastguard stations, job centres and benefit call centres.

At the Ordnance Survey, of 1,118 civil servants, only one went on strike, while 90 per cent of staff at the Department for Communities and Local Government crossed the picket line.

However, officers had to be taken off patrol in London to replace the 95 per cent of 999 call handlers who abandoned their posts.

Yesterday's strike, while negotiations are ongoing with the Government about how to reduce the huge cost of public sector pensions, split the union movement. It also cast doubt on the ability of unions to muster sufficient support for a wave of industrial action culminating in a general strike in the autumn.

Christine Keates, head of the NASUWT - which did not join yesterday's action - said: 'It's important to keep the high moral ground. 'That means if there are negotiations, that you seek to exhaust all other avenues before resorting to industrial action.'

One senior Government source said: 'The whole thing has been a complete damp squib. 'It was not even as big as the strikes of the Labour years. We have been completely committed to talks with unions over public sector pensions, and remain so.'

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the civil servants' Public and Commercial Services union, insisted turnout had been 'incredible', claiming more than 200,000 of his members - twice the official estimate – stayed at home. He said his members had been left with no choice but to take action as the government was not prepared to 'compromise on any of the central issues of the strike'.

Ministers have accepted recommendations from former Labour Cabinet minister Lord Hutton that will mean public service pension contributions increasing by 3 per cent on average and retirement ages rising.

Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, who is leading talks with unions, said: 'What today has shown is that the vast majority of hard-working public sector employees do not support today's premature strike. 'Very few civil servants wanted this strike at all - less than 10 per cent of them voted for it - and they are right.'

Mr Maude said reform of public sector pensions, which are costing every family £1,000 a year, was 'essential' and said the planned changes would ensure that they will still be 'among the very best, with a guaranteed pension which very few private sector staff now enjoy'. 'They will be paid later because people live longer, and public sector staff will pay more, for a fairer balance between what they pay and what other taxpayers pay,' he added.

Labour leader Ed Miliband criticised workers for walking out while negotiations on reform of their pensions were ongoing, saying it would not help them win their argument. Up to 44,000 strikers took part in street protests, including 20,000 in central London. One female officer and six members of the public were hurt.

Scotland Yard said 37 were arrested in the capital for offences including drug possession, criminal damage and breach of the peace.

The crisis came as smatterings of violence broke out during a 20,000-strong march through London in protest against pension reform.

More than 3,000 officers were on duty manning the march and securing the Houses of Parliament where three quarters of civilian staff, including security guards, skipped duty.

So what is the truth about the affordability of public sector pension schemes? Lord Hutton's report made the need for reform absolutely plain. His analysis showed that 'the status quo is untenable' and that 'future costs are inherently uncertain'.

Official figures suggest that the country faces a bill of more than £900billion for total public sector pension liabilities over the decades ahead. That is three times the national debt of crisis-hit Greece - or more than the total debts of Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland combined.

In the private sector, most get nothing. If they do have a company pension, it is typically worth about £25 a week. But they are having to pay for state workers' pensions, with a typical family forking out around £1,000 a year to meet the cost. As bitter pill as it is for millions of public sector workers to swallow, that is neither fair nor sustainable.


Why do you think this crooked Texas cop kept getting rehired?

A Dallas police officer with a troubled disciplinary history was arrested Wednesday and accused of stealing a gun from a motorist, authorities say. Officer Lavar Horne faces a charge of theft by a public servant and tampering with evidence. Both are third-degree felonies punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Authorities say Horne conducted a traffic stop on April 28 during which he searched a vehicle and seized a handgun and marijuana. He allowed the occupants of the vehicle to leave without arresting them.

Horne, who was assigned to northeast patrol at the time, did not take the gun and the marijuana to the property room at the end of his shift as required, police officials said. Later, a man in the vehicle contacted a supervisor at Horne’s patrol station and told them that Horne had taken the gun.

Horne told the supervisor that he didn’t have the gun but later told police commanders that he had forgotten he had it in his bag. He told investigators that he threw the marijuana away, police said.

Investigators also found that he turned off his digital video recorder during the traffic stop. They also discovered that he had turned off his in-car computer and didn’t notify police dispatchers that he’d stopped a vehicle.

Horne, who grew up in South Dallas, was featured in November 2003 in The Dallas Morning News in a series of stories about the department’s questionable hiring practices.

The department rejected Horne the first time he applied in 2001. He failed the civil service exam. A three-officer screening board deemed him “unable to logically process information,” according to department records.

He reapplied, and the department hired him in December 2002. He was fired in October 2003 after the department discovered his license had been suspended for eight months for not having auto insurance. As a probationary officer, he had no right of appeal.

In January 2004, then-interim Police Chief Randy Hampton reinstated Horne after he told Hampton that he had never received notice that his license had been suspended. He also showed Hampton evidence that he had always had insurance. “Some people had been saying I was a bad officer, and I’m going to prove them wrong. I’m going to go back and do my job,” Horne told The News at the time.

Between 2005 and 2007, Horne was disciplined three times for missing court. In December 2008, he received a 20-day suspension after internal investigators said he had had turned in fake doctor’s notes.

When confronted, Horne admitted they were fake and said he made a mistake because he panicked. “I apologize to the department … for my conduct in making a very bad decision,” Horne wrote to police investigators. “I can promise and assure you this will not happen again.”

Around that same time, Horne also fell under scrutiny after vice detectives believed he had tipped off club employees about an impending raid. Horne denied having tipped anybody off and said he was not aware of the upcoming raid. Internal affairs investigators ultimately couldn’t prove that Horne had tipped anybody off.


Lavar Horne is black

Does NY’s New Homosexual Marriage Law Protect Those Who Oppose Same-Sex Unions?

New York’s same-sex marriage debate came to a close last Friday evening when the state Senate voted to allow homosexuals to wed. But, is the debate truly over? Already, new questions are arising over the rights of individuals and businesses to refuse serving or working for gay couples. From wedding photographers opposed to shooting a same-sex wedding to religious non-profits who may wish to decline health care coverage to gay partners, some are fearful that protections simply don’t go far enough.

WNYC quotes Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage, who claims that organizations and individuals are not adequately protected:
“There are profound consequences for re-defining marriage. And this religious liberty exemption in my view does relatively little or nothing to protect such organizations and individuals.”

Rabbi Avi Shafran of the Jewish organization Agudath Israel, also sees potential complications for his faith-based group. Shafran wonders what will happen if the organization denies same-sex employees health care benefits for their partners. He says:
“If we were to stand on our religious principles, which we would do, and not extend benefits because we don’t recognize the union as a marriage, then the state could say that funds … would be denied us because we are not subscribing to what the state considers to be proper marriages.”

According to, via the Baptist Press, there are some protections that are not included in the new law. A husband and wife photography team, for instance, would not be protected if the couple refused to take pictures at a gay wedding. Additionally, Alliance Defense Fund attorney Austin R. Nimrocks claims that there is nothing that can be done to prevent teaching same-sex marriage in public schools — something some opponents of the new law will surely have an opinion on. Nimrocks says:
“This language does not cover everything it needs to cover and everybody that needs to be covered. In terms of what it purports to cover, it remains to be seen whether it will be interpreted in the way that many legislators who enacted it are promising it will be. There are significant holes in this religious liberty language.

It does not protect individuals. It does not protect private business owners. It does not protect, for example, a bed and breakfast owner who is using their own private personal property in the type of intimate setting that a bed and breakfast is. It does not protect licensed professionals. For example, it does not protect counselors. It also does not protect lawyers — you may have a family law attorney who does not want to do a same-sex divorce because of their deeply held religious beliefs.”

The Boston Globe recently delved into the discussion, highlighting some interviews with anxious service providers. Bill Banuchi of Newburgh, N.Y., a provider of Christian marriage and family counseling seminars and services through his Marriage and Family Savers Institute, shared his worries over the new marriage law.

Banuchi fears that he will not be protected under the religious exemption portion of the bill due to the fact that he is a tax-exempt, non-profit educational charity:
“We have certain principles and ethical guidelines we’d have to compromise. We would be in violation of the law and open to being sued for discrimination, and we could lose our tax-exempt status if we refused to counsel couples according to their value system. Our value system is that the only authentic marriage is between a male and a female.”

Others dismiss these fears saying that current laws already prevent businesses from discriminating based on sexual orientation. Still, there are a variety of questions surrounding how the new law will impact education, non-profits and individual businesses and entrepreneurs.

With one side viewing any and all refusals to serve homosexuals as discriminatory and the other side seeing the withholding of service as the result of a faith-based or personal view, the battle over individual rights is sure to loom.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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