Britain needs to do more to promote good manners, Tony Blair's "respect czar" Louise Casey has said.
Ms Casey championed anti-social behaviour orders
The government adviser said politeness was now missing "right across society" and schools, companies and the media all had a role to play.
Ms Casey said London buses could remind passengers to give up seats to pregnant women and suggested TV soap operas may portray a less gloomy side of life.
"We need a greater sense it's OK to be decent," she told the Daily Telegraph.
"It's important to help old ladies across the road. The greatest pleasure you can give yourself is to help somebody else."
"You're not the nerd if you don't throw your rubbish on the floor - you're the person who's making Britain the country we all want to live in."
Ms Casey said a rise in single-parent families and less church-going and neighbourliness were all possible factors in falling levels of politeness.
But she added bad behaviour transcended class and recalled being behind a new four-wheel drive vehicle in the wealthy Highgate area of north London.
"I watched the driver toss rubbish out of the window, I felt such anger," she told the paper.
"Right across society, whether they're rich or poor, people can behave really nastily."
Ms Casey said anti-social behaviour orders, which she championed, had helped to restore respect.
But they should not be seen as "the be-all and end-all".
On soap operas, Ms Casey said there was a "public service responsibility to try to uphold certain standards of decency".
She said: "I hate the fact that everything is gloomy, everybody is sleeping with each other, everybody is killing each other, everybody is committing anti-social behaviour all the time when Britain doesn't look so awful in real life."