Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The BlogPost I Daren't Write a Headline For




Sky's Niall Paterson reports on an interview David Cameron gave to Christian O'Connell this morning (odd, though he was on holiday in France) on Absolute Radio (never heard of it).

O'Connell asked him why he wasn't on Twitter.
It's too instantaneous... Too many twits might make a twat".
A good line, although no doubt he will be criticised by those of a 'cloyingly sanctimonious' (copyright Tristan Hunt*) disposition for using the word 'twat'. However, it is now a word which has become almost synonymous with 'twit'. I suspect most people don't even know its proper meaning. Let's just wait for the howls of outrage. It is the silly season, after all.

Maybe Twitter newbie Henry Macrory will twitter about it. Henry is Cameron's Head of Press! If I were him I'd tweet "Dave says's Dale's a twat". That won't be news to anyone...

PS If I had written a headline for this blogpost I suspect I'd have proved David Cameron's point! That should, of course, not inhibit my blogreaders from having a go.

UPDATE: You can listen to the Cameron interview HERE. The Conservatives have just tweeted it, so they're clearly unfussed by the remarks.


* In a recent article the leftie historian called me 'cloyingly sanctimonious'. From him, I take it as a compliment.

94 comments:

Matthew Cain said...

It's Tristram Hunt, not Tristan.

Absolute Radio used to be called Virgin Radio. The fact that you haven't heard of it may not devalue the brand considerably.

I'm not sure, due to your inconsistent punctuation, what was odd about being in France except that you can listen to Absolute Radio on the internet.

Apart from that, a gripping, interesting and thought-provoking article. Is it silly season?!

Anonymous said...

Twit turns twat with too many tweets on Twitter

DespairingLiberal said...

Come off it Iain - with your last remark trying to convince your many ultra-right readers that you are at odds with Cameron. I'm certain that your one regret right now is that you didn't stick out trying to become a PPC so you could ride in on Dave's coat-tails at the next general and spend a few years lolling on the green stuff baying support for him! Your views are very, very close to his.

Anonymous said...

I always that "twat" was a particulaly offensive word?

Maybe times have changed.

Anonymous said...

Don't really think he should be using words like twat to be honest. The problem with Cameron is he doesn't really think about his words and just spouts out any old clap trap

Iain Dale said...

I think you are rather misinterpreting that remark...

no longer anonymous said...

I recall that twat was anot a word I would use in front of my parents (and still wouldn't) although I think it has become less taboo.

Incidently I once knew a girl from South Africa who thought it meant a pregnant coldfish!

norman said...

I despair reading the deluded postings of " DespairingLiberal"!

Blue Eyes said...

I'm pleased that I am not the only one who refers to "tweets" as "twits"

Curmudgeon said...

Twitter is widely referred to as Twatter anyway ;-)

Curmudgeon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

As an ex-tropical fish keeper I thought a twat was an expectant fish.
Hope I didn't offend too many people then...

norman said...

It sounds like typical Johnsonite
remark ( I mean President Lyndon Johnson). President Johnson was losing patience about the obstructionist attitude of Gerald Ford then the majority leader of the Senate and said about him (sic) " He can't f**k and chew at the same time!

gustavus said...

Vulgar language from a man unfit for office. Wheatcroft's piece in the Guardian couldn't be timelier.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a huge Cameron fan, but he's on the money with this comment. Good on him.

Dex said...

Aye it used to be Virgin Radio up until about a year ago. Christian does a good morning show, far better than Chris Moyles etc. It does though sound like soemthing that would come out during one of his shows.

Fair enough comment though, a lot of twitters do come across as self important twats. But i say that as someone who hasn't really been old on it yet.

Stronghold Barricades said...

Silly season

Made me laugh

Do I need to go onto twitter to realise the full import of "Mrs Dale being a twat"?

Plato said...

To have been 'twatted' by someone is very common colourful usage.

I think the more Cameron and all politicians talked like regular people would be a good thing.

Gratuitous swearing excepted.

Tachybaptus said...

Cameron is not alone in this easy error. In 1841, the poet Robert Browning published the long dramatic poem _Pippa Passes_, now best known for the lines 'God's in His heaven/ All's right with the world.' Toward the end of it, he sets up a kind of Gothic scene, and writes:

Then, owls and bats,
Cowls and twats,
Monks and nuns, in a cloister's moods,
Adjourn to the oak-stump pantry!

The second of these lines created no stir at all, presumably because the middle class had truly forgotten the word 'twat' (just as it had forgotten 'quaint,' so that Marvell's pun on the two meanings in 'To His Coy Mistress' has fallen flat for six or eight generations now). A few scholars must have recognized the word, but any who did behaved like loyal subjects when the emperor wore his new clothes, and discreetly said nothing. No editor of Browning has ever expurgated the line, even when Rossetti was diligently cutting mere 'womb' out of Whitman. The first response only came forty years later when the editors of the Oxford English Dictionary, collecting examples of usage, like Johnson before them, and interested to find a contemporary use of 'twat,' wrote to Browning to ask in what sense he was using it. Browning is said to have written back that he used it to mean a piece of headgear for nuns, comparable to the cowls for monks he put in the same line. The editors are then supposed to have asked if he recalled where he had learned the word. Browning replied that he knew exactly. He had read widely in seventeenth-century literature in his youth, and in a broadside poem called 'Vanity of Vanities', published in 1659, he had found these lines, referring to an ambitious cleric:

They talk't of his having a Cardinall's Hat;
They'd send him as soon an Old Nun's Twat.

If you are sufficiently delicate and sheltered, it is possible to take the last word as meaning something like a wimple, and Browning did.

SHB said...

I was amazed that the road sign didn't get a mention from Hamster and May when they drove past it the other week.

So what if DC said twat.

Whiffler said...

You often hear people being called a Berk.

Berkley Hunt = twat

Anonymous said...

Almost as outrageous as kicking up a fuss over the use of "hissy fit" or "whore" isn't it.

Uncle Bob said...

Nice to know DC's got a sense of humour and isn't just a politically correct cyborg (Yes Gordon, I mean you!). Dave has used the word in a charming way without malice and is one of the few mainstream politicians who could get away with it, probably Boris could too.

And on to the word twat, It's very much in the lower order of swearing, like shit and bloody, certainly doesn't have the power of it's big brother, 'the C-bomb' (Most powerful word in the english language, though even that has changed it's status. My best friend calls me a c u next tuesday so often that it's more like a term of endearment, than offensive). The british are world masters of the art of profanity and are always able to deliver these words with expert precision. Let us revel in our vulgarity, just don't do it around children. Allow them their innocence and let us adults have all the fun!

Sean Haffey said...

The Royal Family uses twitter, and pretty well too.

Don't see why MPs couldn't.

(Look up BritishMonarchy on Twitter)

Lola said...

Clearly Cameron has been reading too many blog posts when the twat word is used as a proxy for the other word.

norman said...

I am with Cameron in this. I too seldom use words like this. For some,no other word fits their description of what they are. We have a minister with a legal surname- Balls ( aspiring to become a PM)

albertmbankment said...

Well done, Tachybaptus. I was just going to tell the world about "the Browning version" (so to speak), but see that you got there first!

Minnie the Minx said...

Its a very rude word in Sunderland.

simonh said...

Your headline should be:

Cameron: "Twat"

Desperate Dan said...

norman if you're going to quote quotes you might at least get them right. Johnson said of Ford that he couldn't fart and chew gum at the same time.

Uncle Bob said...

Thanks for twittering the link for the interview. I know it wasn't a serious political interview but it's amazing to hear how relaxed Cameron is, even Blair at the peak of his powers couldn't come across as well as that and in such a self-deprecating manner too. After the monotone dreariness of Brown people are warming to someone who's well, human for starters, someone you can relate to. He's about to embark on probably the most arduous 10 months of his life so hope he enjoys his holiday, he's going to need it!

Matthew Rudd said...

I rather like using Twitter and yet don't consider myself especially life-deficient as a consequence.

Twitter to me is actually a very rude (and very amusing) entry in Roger's Profanisaurus.

Steve said...

Iain, I am a regular and appreciative reader of your blog (it's normally you 1st then Bob Piper, not sure what that says about me) despite being a leftie liberal. I don't agree with a lot of what I read here but, well, that's the point. So I hope you won't take it amiss, and rather as a constructive if slightly rude comment, when I say that I agree with Tristram Hunt about your tone when you comment on some issues.

Mr Eugenides said...

Too many twits make a "Tristram Hunt", then.

MikeyP said...

I think on Guido's blog, twat is normally translated as hoon!

Steve said...

By the way, norman, Gerald Ford was in the House not the Senate, and he was never majority leader on account of the Republicans not having a majority.

I always thought the quote was that he couldn't walk and chew gum at the same time, but I guess it may have been bowdlerised as much of LBJ's comments must have been!

trevorsden said...

DespairingLiberal -- I have no axe to grind but I suspect that given Mr Dales new publishing ventures he is quite happy to be on the outside looking in.

To be fair to Mr Dale I think he has been more than honest about his political adventures. I think your remarks are cheap nasty and pathetic.

Cameron once again, BTW, proves himself to be perfectly normal, unlike at least one other party leader I could mention.

norman said...

Steve,
You are right about Ford, I was thinking about Johnson himself who was a senator and a majority leader.
"walking and chewing" was an American public version but Galbraith appearing on Parkinson clarified what Johnson really said

Jonathan Sheppard said...

Sorry - I think it's a rude word Iain, and if you used it up here someone would "tw*t" anyone for calling them one.

That said - there are some pe

Gawain Towler said...

Well he joins exalted company, Margot Wallstrom, the propaganda Commissioner is a earlier exemplar.
http://englandexpects.blogspot.com/2007/11/twatswell-she-said-it.html

Alex said...

"The BlogPost For Which I Daren't Write a Headline"

A sentence ending with a preposition: now, that really is offensive.

Anonymous said...

The comments over at the Daily Mail are amusing. If this were a celebrity on the BBC there would be calls for blood, but apparently this just shows what a 'normal guy' Dave is.

Cameron seems to have correctly judged that his core supporters have such cognitive dissonance that he can basically do anything without affecting them.

Hipponess said...

I've just listened to the radio interview. I think the context it was used in was quite funny. He was very relaxed and it's nice to know he's as "bad" as the rest of us!
We all swear. Blimey was considered very offensive at one time.
I use the word twat to describe idiot politicians.
As for being a 'twit' for using twitter, I've used that a lot to describe some one who tweets including myself.

trevorsden said...

@ Anonymous "cognitive dissonance" - this is defined as "the feeling of uncomfortable tension which comes from holding two conflicting thoughts in the mind at the same time"

The harsh fact for you (you who dare not declare your name) and people like Simon Heffer (who constantly bares the chip on his shoulder) have to come to terms with is that the Conservative party knew what they were doing when they elected Cameron. They are comfortable with him. Something which shows that they are a grown up party - as comfortable inside their skins as Cameron is inside his..

Uncle Bob said...

And on the great british art of vulgarity in humour, jyst spotted this pearler on political betting -
Labour is replacing the Red Rose with a condom. They feel it more accurately reflects their policies. This is because a condom allows for inflation, halts production, destroys the next generation, protects a bunch of pricks and gives you a good sense of security whilst you’re being funked.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone really think this wasn't a planned and well rehearsed little 'slip'? Ah now we know he's just like us.

golden_balls said...

I too find the word twat offensive

I wonder how the rightwing blogesphere would have reacted if brown had said this.

Stevo Bevo said...

Is Tristan Hunt an actual person then? I'd assumed it was rhyming slang.

Anonymous said...

..Prime Minister elect who says "twat" and "pissed off" in same interview...welcome to low life dumbed down Great Britain

Stevo Bevo said...

***Vulgar language from a man unfit for office. Wheatcroft's piece in the Guardian couldn't be timelier.***

Yes, the piece where, having finally discovered that banging on about Cameron being unfit for office because he's too posh, Wheatcroft tries the line that Cameron is unfit for office because he's too vulgar.

History Toadey said...

It is spelt Tristram *unt!! The said Tristram is definitely a sanctimonious tw*t.

Gary Elsby said...

I personally don't think the ecyclopaedic version best describes your beloved leader, but I do think it best describes the decision to be led by that maniac your party has has chosen in Europe.
His denial of burning men, women and children to death with the help of the Nazis, will do your beloved leaders cause not one bit.

How the British Conservative Party has been taken down this path leaves me breathless.

Not Hauge's most brilliant moment.

Anonymous said...

Iain you were saying the other day about anonymous posts and that you might ban them and then you did tell us the reason why. Have you decided? You only have to look at guidos blog to see what is going on here. It has been taken over completely now while he is away. it was always good for great debate and comment as is yours.
It isnt worth visiting now however. Don't let yours ever get to this stage the way guidos has gone!

Stevo Bevo said...

***His denial of burning men, women and children to death with the help of the Nazis, will do your beloved leaders cause not one bit.***

Who has been burning people to death with the help of the Nazis?

Anonymous said...

i care more about our huge budget deficit than semantics. get a grip for fucks sake!

Hamish said...

As a philogynist, I find it difficult to understand why the T... and C... words are used as terms of opprobrium.

I can understand the term motherf...er being used as a term of abuse, but not these words.

Sorry Iain you are being mysogynistic in approving of the usage.

Chalcedon said...

Oh ye that hath never ever sworn in your life casteth the first stone.

Uncle Bob said...

And now the BBC is getting it's knickers in a twist over it.

Anonymous said...

Spelthorne Guru (Lib Dem) writes..

A storm in a teacup if I ever heard one.

Glad to know that the Tory leader thinks that too many twits make a twat. Spot on, Dave.

Still disagree with his right-wing views.

Neil Ward said...

People are taking this way to seriously I think.

We put up with a nokia throwing Prime Mentalist. But the moment a future PM says the word twat then the whole world goes crazy.

disillusioned Dale blog reader said...

Anyone who is getting worked up about this needs to get a life. Next the media will be telling us he once got drunk, did 35mph in a 30mph zone, checked out a bit of totty walking down the street etc etc.......

Anonymous said...

Vulgar language from a man unfit for office. Wheatcroft's piece in the Guardian couldn't be timelier.

Speaking of cloyingly sanctimonious...

Anonymous said...

If this were a celebrity on the BBC there would be calls for blood,

You obviously don't watch the BBC very much.

For the record, the recent anger about BBC celebrities had to do with them making random abusive phone calls, not with their use of Sweary Words. You ignorant hoon.

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain to me what Gary Elsby 1:25 PM is actually gibbering about?

Also, Dale, if you're going to have comment moderation engaged, it'd be nice if you used it to cut out demented incoherent ravings like Gazza's.

jailhouselawyer said...

Robert Browning mistakenly wrote that twat is headgear worn by nuns.

Anonymous said...

Still disagree with his right-wing views.

July 29, 2009 1:36 PM

i would too if he had any.

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain to me what Gary Elsby 1:25 PM is actually gibbering about?

Something about stoke on trent i think.

Luis said...

At least he didn't use the C-word ! Not much danger of that I suppose- you rarely hear anything Conservative coming out of his mouth !!

Reminds me somewhat of a posh" bloke" trying to act all proletarian in somewhere like Kwik Fit.

The attitude is something like this: "The oinks who listen to the station Dale hasn't even heard of will like me a bit better if I talk dirty". I think he should be true to himself and not pretend to be something he isn't.

Zuagroasta said...

"Anonymous said...
Can someone explain to me what Gary Elsby 1:25 PM is actually gibbering about?"

Gary is the product of New Labour. Never answers the question that's asked and never gives a straight answer to anything.

Anonymous said...

Iain, maybe you should forget 'Play Radio' and start angling for a job at Absolute 'where the action is' Radio...

Carl said...

Y'know, in a Brandesque response, I haven't heard the comment, but in about two weeks time I intend to be terribly offended at the vulgarity by a prospective prime minister and will write to the Time to complain, expect resignations, firings and grovelling apologies galore, followed by more complaints about how much these radio "stars" and MPs earn...

I am Andrew Sachs and I claim my own £5

Robin B'stard MP said...

What exactly is everyone getting their knickers in a twist for? As far as i'm concerned his language was far to mild when describing how the public felt about MPs, and as for his twitter comment well yes he's right twitterers are twats with a capital 'C'..........

Anonymous said...

Given the fact that Her Majesty the Queen uses Twitter - this juveline remark from Cameron is highly offensive to Her Majesty and her family. Cameron may well be Prime Minister in a few mnonths time and will have an audience with the Queen at least once a week - the first thing he should do is apologise for calling her, albeit in an inadvertant way, a `Twat.'

Robin B'stard MP said...

Anonymous said...
The comments over at the Daily Mail are amusing. If this were a celebrity on the BBC there would be calls for blood, but apparently this just shows what a 'normal guy' Dave is
July 29, 2009 12:05 PM

Hold on a minute joker. He used two words "pissed and twat" how that puts him in the same league as Ross and co i cant quite fathom.
Now, had he said "fucked off with" and "twitterers are c*nts" he would probably have found those to be the sentiments of 90% of the UK population.

It seems to me that the only people who are offended are the 10%who without doubt are little more than pissed off twats.

Get a life for christs sake....

Gary Elsby happy to help said...

I think I rattled a few very informed cages but just to remind you that you lot left the EEP in Europe and lined up with a bunch of extremists bordering Nick Griffins party.

Your new leader, for your new group,is fending off attempts to get him to apologise for his Countrymen's actions in WW2 and he refuses to do so.

You need to research this story a bit and ask why Michal Kalimsky has taken this stance on behalf of you Tories.

I thought Tories hated Nazis and thought it unnacceptable to burn people to death?

Dave and William are going to be hit very hard on this one.

jafo said...

What a load of fuss about nothing! I agree that it is a bit of a shock to the system to hear a politician speak like a normal person and answer a straight question - but it makes a change from some NuLab robot and their usual dalek like delivery.

All these people saying how offensive this particular 4 letter word is - really, get a life! Can't believe ANY normal adult is offended by this language, and if they are, how do they survive in the modern world? How do they watch the BBC, for example? They can't produce any drama without every character using obscene 4 letter words (not that one, either) extremely frequently. That's all right, of course, the Guardianistas like the BBC.........

Binqu said...

"but in about two weeks time I intend to be terribly offended at the vulgarity by a prospective prime minister"

Sure, but I'll bet you weren't offended by toff Blair's racist and celtophobic utterance of "f***ing Welsh".

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/4290624.stm

Typical Labourite hypocrites - they think there's one rule for them and another for everyone else.

Richard said...

Using language of the oik, doesn't do Cameron any favours. It reminds everyone of the macho vulgarity of Alistair Campbell and the rest the Labour thugs. Stupid Cameron doesn't realise people want a change from such language and behaviour.

Anonymous said...

What a surprise the TV cameras just happened to be there as well. Is young Henry over reaching himself just a fraction?These non spontaneous accidents don't always work do they?
But very man of the people as they say.
It really does take one to know one Dave!

Bath plugs for the many, not the few said...

I'm with Richard, 7.26, on this.

The increasing vulgarisation of discourse is one of the socially corrosive fruits of the past ten years. Leaders, including political leaders, should be countering it rather than going with the flow.

I think less of Cameron for this; and all those who don't understand why any of this matters are the ones who need to get a life.

Anonymous said...

I think I rattled a few very informed cages

No, you just left a lot of people mystified because you seem incapable of following the most basic rules of English grammar.

but just to remind you that you lot left the EEP in Europe

No such thing as the "EEP". The Conservatives left the European People's Party, not the "EEP" (whatever that may be).

and lined up with a bunch of extremists bordering Nick Griffins party.

No, I'm afraid you're thinking on the Labour Party. Your Labour MEPs sit alongside the likes of Proinsias De Rossa (fascist, IRA terrorist and murderer of six policemen), the Polish "Self-Defence of the Republic" Party, an anti-semitic group who have repeatedly defended the Holocaust and Giulietto Chiesa, the Italian Stalinist and 9/11 conspiracy theorist. Shall I mention how your Labour MEPs are in associate membership with the Turkish Democratic Society Party (the political wing of the PKK)? Still, I suppose it's nothing new - Labour has a long history of cosying up to murderers, terrorists and criminals.

Your new leader, for your new group,is fending off attempts to get him to apologise for his Countrymen's actions in WW2 and he refuses to do so.

And your MEPs sit alongside Andrzej Lepper who regularly declares that Poland should be cleansed of non-Poles, especially Jews and ethnic Russians. You also sit alongside Chiesa who openly calls for the return of a Stalinist government in Moscow and the resurrection of the Soviet Union; this is a man who praised Putin's invasion of Georgia. And he sits beside Labour.

What do you have to be proud of, Gazza?

You need to research this story a bit and ask why Michal Kalimsky has taken this stance on behalf of you Tories.

You need to go back to school and learn how to read and write grammatical English. Then you need to find out a bit more about the Labour Party's special friends in the European Parliament. Then you need to find out what EEP stands for and explain to all of us because I'm still mystified.

I thought Tories hated Nazis and thought it unnacceptable to burn people to death?

No, that was old policy. At the last conference we agreed that Nazis were great and burning people to death is Epic Win. Cretin.

Dave and William are going to be hit very hard on this one.

Go to Google and do an Image Search for "facepalm.jpg". That will tell you how I feel about this.

Anonymous said...

All he did was say it how most 'normal' people would,I'm quite reassured the future PM of this country sees things like the rest of us do.
I look forward to him calling the snot gobbler a twat,personally I resort to far more choice language when his hideous mooey polutes my tv screen.

Reed said...

A lot of fuss about nothing really.

Personally, I'd rather be talked to honestly with slightly coarse language than be lied to with slick language...Mr. Blair.

The Grim Reaper said...

Tristan Hunt?

I take it that's a misprint?

Unsworth said...

You can tell how earth-shatteringly important this is, that twat Stephen Pound is mouthing off about it now.

These twats ought to get a life. It's more of the usual NuLab bollox of trying to control other's vocabulary - rather than addressing the debate.

Doug said...

This is just ridiculous.

I'm sorry but I hear loads of people week in week out use the word twat in the more common usage of either being a fool or to hit.

It really is silly season. The sanctimonious idiots would melt into quivering jelly if Cameron were to talk about a female dog.

WV: undamp

Doug said...

Richard said...

Using language of the oik, doesn't do Cameron any favours. It reminds everyone of the macho vulgarity of Alistair Campbell and the rest the Labour thugs. Stupid Cameron doesn't realise people want a change from such language and behaviour.


au contraire what people want rid of is the slick spin, say nothing, gobbledegook espoused by Blair and Brown.

johnpaul said...

coulson obviously put him up to it, I wonder what peter hithcen thinks

Mike hunt said...

peter hithcen

who's peter hithcen ?

Gary Elsby said...

Anonymous: I'm so sorry to have offended you and mistaking the Conservative Party with the EEP and not the EPP.

Now about this business with burning people to death in WW2 and the Conservative Party sitting with them in your new grouping.

Shameful and disgusting.

See you about 6 weeks before the next General Election.

Gary Elsby said...

Forgot to mention that the burning to death of Nazi prisoners and the Conservative Party link to the monster identified in the story is plastered all over this week's New Statesman coming to a newsagent all over the British Isles soon.

Anonymous said...

Shameful and disgusting.

Are words that could easily describe Labour's friends in the Socialist grouping.

Tell me, given that Labour and the DUP sit side by side in the same grouping, doesn't that make you and your party homophobic?

Gary Elsby said...

Anonymous: The difference between the two accounts is that your Party hinges a General Election victory on what you have done in Europe.

You have done nothing and said nothing in Britain.

It all hangs on not bailing out banks, not cutting VAT and not targetting those in need.
(Conservative values discredited by the CBI, IMF and the EU)

It hinges and hangs on the European Union.

Now explain the seating arrangements of the British Conservative Party in Europe.

The DUP, UDA, Sinn Fein and the IRA? We're all friends now and doing what's right for the people of Britain.
Which part of that does the Conservative Party wish to reverse?

Anonymous said...

Blatently planned and not a slip of the tongue at all. Cameron is showing how down with the kids he is because he uses words like "twat" and phrases like "pissed off".

Must be loving the attention this is getting.