Temper your language!

This morning’s online newspaper has much discussion about the language and tone used in the House of Commons earlier in the week. Several Members of Parliament and commentators have sought to link the Prime Minister’s use of phrases such as “surrender act” in referring to the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019, to the post-Brexit referendum increase in threats, abuse and violence suffered by some MPs.

But hasn’t the House of Commons traditionally been a bear-pit, particularly during Prime Minister’s Questions? Haven’t Members always used hyperbole? Opposing Members sit two sword lengths apart, and the Speaker is physically dragged to his seat.

It appears to me that the deplorable behaviour towards our elected representatives is part of a tidal change in the way we relate to each other, and this longer term wave includes elements such as the rise in acts of terrorism, the increasing use of social media, with the anonymity it affords, and the practice of journalists ambushing politicians entering or leaving their homes or heckling them across Downing Street.

As I was reading, I noticed at the top of the screen an advert by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board whose current marketing slogan is the fatuous “Lamb – Hits you in the chops!”

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