Di Bawoh Rang Ikang Kering
Random Ramblings of A Retired Retainer


Monday, May 05, 2008
If only our MPs can use English in Parlimen without asking permission then they could study the following excerpts from the Hansard of the British Parliament (House of Commons & House of Lords) where name-calling was almost literary. It got quoted in "The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations".

MPs got called a monkey too but in a more refined way:

I am not going to spend any time whatsoever in attacking the Foreign Secretary. Quite honestly, I am beginning to feel extremely sorry for him. If we complain about the tune, there is no reason to attack the monkey when the organ grinder is present.

(Bevan 1897-1960) Hansard 16 May 1957, col. 680
He also said this in Parliament:

The worst thing I can say about democracy is that it has tolerated the Right Honourable Gentleman [Neville Chamberlain] for four and a half years.
Hansard 23 July 1929, col. 1191

For long-winded MPs, here is what Lord Brabazon (Baron Brabazon of Tara) had to say:

I take the view, and always have, that if you cannot say what you are going to say in twenty minutes you ought to go away and write a book about it.

Hansard (Lords) 21 June 1955, col. 207

Sir Winston Churchill said a lot of memorable words in Parliament. This might describe some of our own MPs:

He [Lord Charles Beresford] is one of those orators of whom it was well said, "Before they get up, they do not know what they are going to say;when they are speaking, they do not know what they are saying; and when they have sat down, they do not know what they have said."
Hansard 20 Dec. 1912, col. 1893

And this could well be OUR government:

So they [the Government] go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent.
Hansard 12 Nov. 1936, col. 1107

Harold Wilson was not happy with a fellow MP:

The Smethwick Conservatives can have the satisfaction of having topped the poll, and of having sent here as their Member one who, until a further General Election restores him to oblivion, will serve his term here as a Parliamentary leper.

Hansard 3 Nov. 1964, col. 71

I hope none of our MPs are going to be restored to oblivion.

Finally, nice insults off the House:

Jean Harlow kept calling Margot Asquith by her first name, or kept trying to: she pronounced it Margot. Finally Margot set her right. "No, no, Jean. The t is silent, as in Harlow."
T. S. Matthews Great Tom (1973) ch. 7

He [Lloyd George?] can't see a belt without hitting below it.
In Listener 11 June 1953 "Margot Oxford: a Personal Impression" by Lady Bonham Carter.

And this is my favourite:

After a heated argument on some trivial matter Nancy (Lady Astor)...shouted, "If I were your wife I would put poison in your coffee!" Whereupon Winston [Churchill] with equal heat and sincerity answered, "And if I were your husband I would drink it."
Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan Glitter and Gold (1952) ch. 7

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