Sunday, 4 July 2010

A Parliamentary Bestiary

Speaking of journalists and political insults involving dead sheep, as we were on July 1st and 2nd, prompts me to mention an article by Max Davidson, in yesterday's Telegraph, in which he discussed the standard of personal insults expressed by various Members of Parliament.

The rudest and crudest, as you might expect was an Aussie, Paul Keating, a former Prime Minister of Australia from 1991 to 1996, who tended to describe his opponents as 'mangy maggots', 'intellectual rust buckets', 'gutless spivs', 'foul-mouthed grubs' or 'little desiccated coconuts'.

They had more style in the old days, especially in the Mother of Parliaments. Benjamin Disraeli for example said the Earl of Aberdeen had 'the crabbed malice of a maundering witch'. Maundering? I didn't know either, but apparently it means dreamy or rambling, as in opium addict (as it was in those days, though I believe there are now more modern substances).

Our recent chaps have kept their end up though. Michael Foot compared Norman Tebbitt to 'a semi-house-trained polecat' and Tony Banks said that Terry Dicks was 'living proof that a pig's bladder on a stick can be elected to Parliament'. Banks also boggled my mind by claiming that Mrs. Thatcher had 'all the sensitivity of a sex-starved boa constrictor'. I was left wondering how exactly he knew about the boa constrictor's sensitivity and which bits he tested, but nothing M.P.s do in their spare time would surprise me.
The winner for my money though was Vince Cable, when he hastened Gordon Brown's departure by pointing out that he had been transmogrified by recent events from Stalin into Mr. Bean.
Max Davidson's article was of course prompted by Simon Burns' recent description of the revered Speaker of the House of Commons as a 'stupid, sanctimonious, dwarf '. How rude! In my opinion that robbed Mr Speaker of his dignity just as if he'd picked his pocket. How could he stoop so low?
I like dwarf jokes though, especially when they're made by dwarves. Ronnie Corbett highlighted his frustration that he is not tall enough to play James Bond, but he's too big to be adopted by Madonna.
One can only speculate as to why Bernie Ecclestone married such a tall girl. Did one of his friend put him up to it I wonder?

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