OH, the opprobrium.
The Prime Minister of England and the Other Bits, one Cameron, D, stands knee-deep in obloquy. You ask: "How came he so to stand?" Answer: he used unparliamentary language. You say: "Wot, he eff'd? Or even bee'd?"
Far from it, madam. His offensive word began with "i". To wit, he called the Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls, "a muttering idiot". The PM's hurtful, if accurate, barb came as his spherically monikered victim maintained a running commentary while Dave was holding forth about yon economy.
Dave, as they say, lost it. And not for the first time. Last month, after Labour's Dennis Skinner, aged 80¼, accused him of hiding behind a Cabinet colleague in the phone hacking controversy, Mr C said: "The honourable gentleman has the right to take his pension at any time and I advise him to do so." Imagine! Calling Mr Skinner a gentleman! But the accusation was ageism or some other old hat. Further back in the mists of time – well, January – Mr Cameron was at Mr Skinner again, this time calling him "a dinosaur". His full quote was: "I often say to my children, 'No need to go to yon Natural History Museum to see a dinosaur, come to the House of Commons at about 12.30pm'."
Lest you weep copious tears on Mr Skinner's behalf, I remind you that he's known affectionately as the Beast of Bolsover. He could reduce Tyrannosaurus Rex to tears with his vicious barbs. Once, he shouted: "Heil Hitler!" at Michael Heseltine.
Of the SDP leader David Owen, he asked: "I want to know, Mr Speaker, why this 'ere pompous git gets so much time?" Upbraided by the Speaker, he withdrew the word "pompous".
So Mr Skinner can look after himself. So can the aforementioned Mr Balls, who has waged a campaign of attrition against the poor old PM. Earlier this year, Mr Cameron said it was like "having someone with Tourette's sitting opposite you".
There was further furore when Dave's description of his own backbencher, Nadine Dorries, as being "extremely frustrated" was deemed a double-entendre. Later, the PM went on the BBC to apologise, blaming the "aggressive, confrontational" atmosphere in the Hoose o' Commons for making ordinary, decent folk like himself ululate intemperately. He added: "That's not what I'm like. It's not who I am." Headline: "PM in identity crisis."
I don't know why he said this. Surely, you go up in the mob's estimation if you react like a normal person, rather than deploy the orotund circumlocutions of proper political discourse? The public, were it to protest, would wave banners saying: "Down with orotund circumlocutions!" A reasonable demand.
Just because he gets pelters from that simultaneously decadent and prim entity known as the popular press doesn't mean Dave should mind his Ps and Qs at PMQs. Asked to choose between decorum and ding-dong, the voters opt unhesitatingly for the latter, even if in public they act all po-faced and pretend the opposite.
Besides, we've heard much worse over the years. Labour's Brian Sedgemore called then Chancellor Nigel Lawson "a snivelling little git". Liberal MP Cyril Smith, a leading lardbucket in his day, told Arthur Smith (Lab): "Sit down, shrimp!"
Rebuked by the speaker for an attack on Edward Heath, Anthony Beaumont-Dark (Con) explained: "I was only seeking clarification as to whether he was a nutcase."
Labour's Tam Dalyell was ordered out of the Hoose for describing Margaret Thatcher as "a bounder, a liar, a deceiver, a cheat and a crook". Bounder, eh? I'd no idea the situation was so serious.
In Scotland, First Minister Alex Salmond wants his country to be normal and so, not unnaturally, attracts much abuse. Former Tory leader Annabel Goldie – the suburban stateswoman who put the spin in spinster – averred of the First Eck: "He is the King Canute of Scottish politics, presumably hoping his wee tartan tootsies won't get wet."
I hope Dave's spirits haven't been dampened by the response to his understandable outburst in the matter of Balls, E. Losing it just proves he's human. Lord knows, I'd hate for Dave's popularity to increase. In uttering such demonstrable truths, I'm afraid there's always that risk.
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