There are some episodes that cast modern Britain in a very shabby light. Take two recent examples. Earlier this month, two DJs, both employed by the BBC, rang up an elderly actor and left offensive messages on his answering machine, supposedly for the purpose of amusing their listeners. We have also learned of a nurse who took a patient's blood pressure while casually chatting on her mobile phone.
The behaviour of Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross has already caused people to question whether such individuals should be employed by a public service broadcaster. Meanwhile, the behaviour of the nurse in question might prompt a debate about the quality of training given to NHS staff.
Perhaps those are debates we need to have. But doesn't something more fundamental – and rather closer to home – link the two stories? Exactly what has happened to good manners and basic courtesy? And isn't it time they made a return?