Thursday, December 17, 2009

Paul Bags Himself Another Fine Mess!

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!

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