Joanna Lumley has set off a ferocious debate after claiming that British children’s morals are ‘slack’.
The Absolutely Fabulous star, 64, made the comments during an interview with the Radio Times.
She said: “We are very slack with our moral codes for children these days. Nowadays, children find it laughably amusing to shoplift and steal.
“We smile when they download information from the internet and lazily present it as their own work. We allow them to bunk off school and bring in sick notes.”
Joanna, who is currently narrating Enid Blyton’s The Cheat on Radio 4, continued: “There was one ‘crime’ during the whole time I was at school, when a fountain pen went missing. Stealing just didn’t happen.
“I was taught not to shoplift, not to steal, not to behave badly. We weren’t even allowed to drop litter.”
The actress, who famously campaigned to let the Gurkas stay in the UK, said she believed British children should be given greater responsibilities.
She explained: “In Ethiopia… you might find a seven-year-old expected to take 15 goats out in to the fields for a whole day with only a chapatti to eat and his whistle.
“Why are we so afraid to give our children responsibilities like that?”
Her comments immediately sparked a flurry of online debate.
One Twitter user sarcastically wrote: “Yes, Joanna Lumley, why aren’t more of our 7 year olds out goat herding? The government should be doing more to promote under 10’s farming.”
Another added: “The vast majority of kids are decent hard working people. Don’t tar all with the same brush.”
However, many also agreed with the star.
One posted: “Joanna Lumley has a point. I deal with people every day who simply can’t write because they think the spellcheck is all they need.”