Society shows its support for vulnerable people in many ways.
The allocation of reserved parking spaces to those with mobility issues is one. However, those who use these parking spaces, even if they are not entitled to — “I’ll be gone in a minute” — show a selfishness, a lack of awareness, all too apparent today.
It is not at all curmudgeonly to suggest that this form of social indifference makes life far more stressful and unpleasant than it need be, especially for those facing particular challenges. In another time, this crass, anti-social behaviour would have been regarded as nothing less than poor manners, once an all-defining condemnation.
The decision by Irish Rail to introduce a baby-on-board badge for expectant mothers so a commuting Sir Galahad might offer them a seat on a busy train shows how self-centred many of us have become. Though the badge has already been a success on the London Underground, it is hard not to think that its introduction benchmarks a new low for a society that imagines itself generous, decent, and well-mannered. Do we really need to be told to do such basic things?
In the old gods’ time, and despite an inherent and active sexism, such a declaration of need would not have been necessary. That it is now suggests we need to quickly return to basics and teach our children that manners are no more than a self-discipline that we impose on ourselves to show respect for others. That would make life better for everyone.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved