The British Prime Minister has said repeatedly that he’d “rather be dead in a ditch” than ask for a delay in the deadline for leaving Europe. Of course, he’s speaking about Brexit. And now that the previously prorogued House of Commons has resumed business, MPs on both sides are complaining about Johnson’s use of language. We would all agree that language is a means of expression. In this case they object to Johnson’s use of words, personal and vituperative, which might lead to more division and might even be dangerous.
Some MPs expressed the view that the House of Commons has often been the scene of strong disagreement by reason of its very nature. Historically, there are rules to go by. For example, “Among the words to which Speakers have objected over the years have been “blackguard, coward, git, guttersnipe, hooligan, rat, swine, stool-pigeon and traitor”! Language, both good and bad, can have immense effect and influence on us as individuals, not only in Parliament but also in our domestic lives.
Our family has never been one to use swear words. Some people even swear when they see something amazingly beautiful. I still wince every time someone says “Oh, my God!” Call me old-fashioned but I can’t bear it!
But my upbringing may be said by some to be repressive. And this is borne out by the time I had to give up acting as a career due my to my jealous husband. As a character in a play, I could spit out any kind of offensive, violent or blasphemous expression with a clear conscience – it wasn’t me! But losing my use of bad language then blocked an important emotional outlet I had enjoyed.
I must have passed on my repression to my children but luckily they are more light-hearted. Apparently, once on a long car journey from the UK to Catalonia, three of them set about shouting out all the swear words they could think of, laughing and crying with the fun of vocalising so many forbidden words without fear or favour!