That’s another fine mess you have gotten us into, Deputy Gogarty!
Fresh from his potty-mouth outburst in the Dail when he shouted ‘F**k you Deputy Stagg, f**k you’ to Labour’s Emmet Stagg, the lyrical loose canon of the Green Party has gotten everyone thinking - about political insults!
Did nobody ever tell young Go-Go Gogarty that the Greens have always endorsed a ban on ‘stagg’ hunting?!
Well anyway - just what constitutes ‘unparliamentary language’ in our corridors of power?
Well it seems the rules and regulations come from the dark ages when it was a gross insult to refer to someone as a ‘corner boy’ or ‘guttersnipe’.
In fact, the infamous f-word much loved by Go-Go Gogarty isn’t even listed - nor or many other colourful and often used swear words.
One banned phrase that did baffle this column for some time was ‘handbagging’. Just what is so insulting about that, I thought until such time as I had done some research on it.
There is a crude meaning - which I will not go into - but apparently the rule dates back to 1992 when the then Transport Minister and Current EU Commissioner Maire Geoghegan-Quinn took exception to Fine Gael’s Austin Currie describing her style of negotiation with Aer Lingus as ‘handbagging’.
Geoghegan-Quinn claimed the term was insulting to her.
The phrase has its political origins during the reign of Maggie Thatcher as Prime Minister in the UK.
It became a technical term of asserting oneself, if not literally whacking one’s opponents.
It was most famously used when Mrs Thatcher reportedly banged her hands on the table in a European summit demanding that the UK be given a rebate on its contributions.
On that occasion, the handbagging worked and Maggie got her way.
I think we could do with a bit more handbagging in the corridors of power!