Team Nice Gets Political

By Londonist Last edited 131 months ago
Team Nice Gets Political

This is a new weekend column brought to you by the founders of Niceties Tokens, Liz and Pete of Team Nice.


So this week, Jacqui Lait MP, the Shadow Minister for London invited Pete and me to Westminster for a chat about niceness. Before I start this – I must stress that Team Nice is not politically biased towards any political party. All we want to do is improve niceness.

Jacqui, Pete and I drank tea and spent the next hour or so discussing social responsibility, niceness, courtesy and what she thinks of Londoners with poor manners on the daily commute.


As a child, it was drummed in to her to stand when an adult entered the room, be on constant lookout to give up your seat to anyone who needed it, and always to say please and thank you.

Skip forward to when I was kid. Fifteen years ago, I was one of those grubby little teenagers standing outside Sidcup McDonalds in a little grubby gang, drinking MD 20/20 through a straw; but we were never gobby to anyone older than us.

Nowadays, my schoolteacher friend says her pupils regularly swear at her and her colleagues. And of course it’s not just kids – with 4 out 5 pregnant women forced to stand on tube journeys. London has lost its manners.

Jacqui spoke about how society in the stiflingly starched-up 1950s contrasted greatly with society in the free liberty of the 1960s, and over the decades she has seen the pendulum swing from one extreme to another.

So I asked her, in this increasingly anti-social world that we seem to have developed, what’s going to happen to us?

Well perhaps it’s time for the pendulum to swing back?

With our politicians talking about social responsibility, social networks like FaceBook and MySpace and, um… Team Nice, are we all getting a little bit rebellious against this near socio-pathic culture that has sprung up in the past few years?

We left the Shadow Minister for London, and crossed the road for a chat with Brian Haw and the gang about their 6-year campaign outside the Houses of Parliament, but more on that next time…

By Liz Akers

Last Updated 20 May 2007


"The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers."

Plato, quoting Socrates, over 2000 years ago.

Zero Lubin

It's all very nice isn't it - where do these people get the time to spread niceness & I would hazard a guess in select area's. While I think the concept is terrific - as a pretty good judge of character I would wager the 'nice woman' in the photo's is a self seeking publicist who probably isn't that nice in real life. I know for a fact Brian was not impressed.
The concept is great, the people are dubious - lets see how nice you really are.


Ben, you have the wisdom of the ages. The quote reaffirms the pendulum idea presented by Jacqui Lait. We should be thankful that the children today don't 'cross their legs'. How disrespectful.

Zero Lubin - an understandable, if somewhat cynical interpretation. I've met both Pete and Liz on a couple of occasions, and they both seem like thoroughly nice people to me. We shall see, as the column progresses, whether your judgment of character is correct.


I don't know a huge amount about politics... but I do know that as with anything, being nice is a good place to start. I also don't think it should be something you 'make time' to do - really nice people don't turn niceness on, it's something that's second nature.

It's a shame that people have become so bitter and cynical that people have to resort to something so simple to get a response.