NEVER in the field of human conflict in the House of Commons has so much been made of so little by so many with a sense of humour bypass. There are more pressing things happening in the world, people! When British Prime Minister Cameron told Labour MP, Angela Eagle, recently to “calm down, dear”, he was just referencing a well-known, pop-cultural catchphrase.
If the advert didn’t exist, then, yes, it would have been a patronising, sexist comment, but people – men and women – use it all the time. It’s entered the national lingo, like “Simples!”
Eagle was allegedly shouting like a football hooligan and, since the Speaker did nothing about it, Cameron popped her balloon with a putdown. It had nothing to do with patronising, bullying sexism. Cameron had apparently already used the same phrase to a male Labour MP.
Really, you’ve got to laugh at all the faux outrage that smacked more of political correctness. Why, for instance, didn’t anyone think of branding Michael Winner sexist when he originally coined the phrase – repeated endlessly in TV adverts? I assume, too, the Labour party was a bit embarrassed by Gordon Brown’s “bigoted woman” comment made during last year’s General Election. I certainly wasn’t, but it can’t be a case of picking and choosing when they get offended surely? Imagine that!
MPs should be able to take such jibes and not appear so wounded. If this is the worst character ‘flaw’ Cameron has, we should be grateful. At least he doesn’t haul secretaries from their chairs or throw mobile phones …
Surely, though, the main point here isn’t Cameron’s so-called lack of sensitivity with his humour but the fact that Labour aren’t scoring points on the
It’s pathetic that Labour threw their toys out of the pram over such an inconsequential matter. It was a silly, throwaway quip that was fairly amusing or unamusing depending on your point of view but they turned it into a major deal when they should have been talking about the real issues that matter to real people. Instead, it was all about silly Parliamentary procedure. Grow up.
Nora Johnson’s novel, The De Clerambault Code (www.nora-johnson.com) available at Amazon. Profits to Cudeca
Picture Credit: Cabinet Office