The UK press has been alive with talk of the Prime Minister calling Ed Balls, the Labour Shadow Chancellor, a "muttering idiot" during a session of Parliament. The the Speaker of the House forced him to withdraw the remark. In The Observer, Gaby Hinsliff and Quentin Letts' debate includes some other language prohibited in Parliament, including my favourite: "Pecksniffian cant."
QL Consult Erskine May, the parliamentary rule book, and "idiot" is not, oddly enough, a banned term (though it is now, clearly). Insults that are banned include "hypocrite", "blackguard" and "Pecksniffian cant", although only Jacob Rees-Mogg would use that last one these days. The thing these insults have in common is that they are the opposite of dialectic. They do not take on the argument. Clearly that is not what we want in our political discourse because it is a short step from that to the sort of punch-ups they have in the South Korean parliament. Boy, I'd love to be a South Korean sketchwriter.
And here's more, Simon Hoggart's Parliamentary sketch:
There are also some words and phrases that haven't been heard in quite a while. "The hon gent is an impertinent puppy!" would earn a rebuke, and a dismissal if not quickly followed by a withdrawal. You cannot accuse anyone of "Pecksniffian cant", or "ruffianism". Try saying "the minister is behaving like an impudent jackass", and you'll be out on your ear lickety split. "Pharisee", "stool-pigeon", "bletherer", "guttersnipe", "cad" and "swine" would also horrify the Speaker and the clerks. And don't even think of saying "the hon member has been returned by the refuse of a large constituency".
(Image: Seth_Pecksniff_85, "A photograph of an engraving in The Writings of Charles Dickens," Wikimedia Commons)
Machinist/sculptor Christ Bathgate (previously) can’t keep up with demand for his latest “pocket sculpture,” a kinetic piece that’s designed to be soothing to fidget with.
In July, the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Dr Matthew Green, a Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute Assistant Professor of Computer Science; now the US government has asked a court to dismiss Dr Green’s claims. A brief from EFF explains what’s at stake here: the right of security experts to […]
On a Sunbeam is a science fiction webcomic from competitive figure skater/comics creator Tillie Walden. Next year, Firstsecond will publish a memoir about her 12 years as a skater; if On a Sunbeam is representative of her work, it’s a book to watch for.
#1. A-Audio Legacy Noise Cancelling Headphones with 3-Stage Technology The A-Audio Legacy Headphones are the Boing Boing Store’s best seller this month, and it’s easy to see why. With 40mm drivers, powerful circuitry, and memory foam padded circumaural ear cups, these are clearly super high-quality headphones. Plus, the patented 3-Stage Technology lets you toggle between passive […]
Vaping is getting more mainstream by the day, which means there’s been an influx of quality yet affordable vaporizers on the market. We’re particularly excited about the APX Wax Vaporizer Kit, which is an easy-to-use, high-quality vape that works with both dry herbs and waxy concentrates.If you’re a beginner trying to get into vaping, the APX […]
When you’ve had a long day and it’s time to unwind, there’s a lot you can do to relax: drink some tea, take a shower or even read a book. But there’s one thing that’s essential to a comfortable night’s rest—and that’s investing in some really good sheets. Enter Bamboo Bed Sheets. These quality sheets retail for $120, but […]