Purfleet, by Mark Leslie, March 28, 2017

Visitors Guide - floral displays around town. In the Tuesday Market Place.
Visitors Guide - floral displays around town. In the Tuesday Market Place.

Are people getting ruder? Well, from my perspective in the editor’s chair here at Limes House I’m afraid there is really only one answer to that,

I fear, and that is yes as the level of abuse now aimed at us seems to have long ago reach 11. It is not that people haven’t always complained. Let’s face it, they’ve probably had good reason to find fault with their local newspaper. It is just that now the default position from the very off seems to be one of, at best sarcasm, but more often downright aggression. Like everybody else, I blame social media. Fond as we are of all things Twitter and Facebook here – indeed it has become an indispensible journalistic tool for any media outlet – there is no denying its downside. Namely, that it encourages a dialogue that is all too often infected with a toxic flavour. It was bad enough when it was just comments on the web, but the more targeted back-and-forth of social media has stepped it up a notch. And that has seemed to seep into everyday life. The other day I had to collect some spare papers from the Corn Exchange in the Tuesday Market Place in Lynn. I was given a big yellow trolley to wheel them out to the car, across the road in the public car park. Being fat and unfit and unused to manual labour it took some considerable effort to hoick them into the boot. The next thing I know some young chap (probably early 20s) is shouting at me more aggressively than sarcastically as he went over to get his ticket. “Thanks for moving your trolley mate!” What’s that? “You’re trolley ... it stopped me parking in the bay (next to mine).” Oh, sorry, didn’t see you ... “I was parked there. You were oblivious.” He was truly furious. I had held him up for all of 15 seconds probably. Maybe a whole minute. Not deliberately, it’s true, but it was something that he could blame someone else for. He would no doubt have agreed his human rights had been violated if quizzed on the subject. I don’t know, but I suspect he would happily have had a fight about it. I think. It was 9.45 on a Saturday morning. The time of the week when you think most people would be the most chilled out they are all week. It is at time like these when you wish you could come up with some Oscar Wilde-style zinger of a put down. Unfortunately, they don’t always come and in this case, such was my state of confusion, I no doubt made this chap’s day when I then tripped over the trolley and was spent sprawling, spilling some of the papers on to the wet concrete and ruining them. Irate Motorist 1, Hapless Me 0, I’m afraid. “You all right mate?” said the man parked next to me, giving me a very quizzical look. I picked myself up off the pavement with the air of one who knows all dignity has gone. For those of a religious bent the only injury sustained was taking the skin of the palm of my right hand. It looked like stigmata. There I was, a martyr to ill behaviour