Saturday, November 12, 2022


By the way . . . 

Hear, hear is an expression used as a short, repeated form of hear him. It represents a listener's agreement with the point being made by a speaker.

The expression originated in the British Parliament where applause is forbidden in the chambers of the House of Commons and House of Lords.

The phrase "Hear him, hear him!" was used in Parliament from late in the 17th century, and was reduced to "Hear!" or "Hear, hear!" by the late 18th century. The verb hear had earlier been used in the King James Bible as a command for others to listen.


Remember the scene in Life of Brian where a man, Mattias, is to be stoned to death for uttering the name of the Lord, a no-no in orthodox Judaism, or so I believe. Anyway, women aren’t allowed at stonings so all the stoners are women with fake beards pretending to be men, all wanting the stoning to commence. Mattias protests that all he did was to say that the fish cooked by his wife would have pleased even Jehovah. This brings shock from the crowd and an admonition from the official, who tells Mattias that he is only making it worse for himself. Mattias points out that he is about to be stoned to death, how could he make it worse for himself, and keeps shouting the name Jehovah. One woman throws a stone and gets told by the Jewish official presiding to go to the back of the crowd as punishment. No one is to start stoning, says the official, even if someone does say Jehovah. This brings further shock from the crow who stone the official.

I was put in mind of this when I came across the items below.


The first use of the word “twat” in the British Parliament was in 1986 When Bill Cash, MP, described Field Marshall Lord Carver as a “boring old twat” The second use was immediately afterwards when another MP shouted “He said twat!”

From the Urban Dictionary:
Twat -
A stupid or obnoxious person

From Hansard’s record of the 1986 debate:

Mr. Dalyell: We are discussing also the relations between the EC and the United States, but I shall be brief. Beyond one's own frontiers it could have very undesirable repercussions. For example, it could be used by Libya to justify a reprisal—

Mr. Cash: Boring old twat.

Mr. Dalyell: —for something that happened to a Libyan in this country.
Did I hear the hon. Gentleman aright, saying that that was rubbish?

Mr. Cash: I was saying that it was extremely boring.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.

An hon. Member: He said "Twat."
Mr. Dalyell: The twat in this case is the Field Marshal Lord Carver. I was quoting exactly—

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. The hon. Member for Stafford (Mr. Cash) must withdraw those remarks. They are unparliamentary.

Mr. Cash: I withdraw the remark, but it was said under provocation of an extreme kind.


I once heard that a Member of Parliament in the Australia Parliament said during debate that the Member for ### (whatever the name of the electorate was) had the brains of a sheep. Called to order and told to retract the remark, he told Parliament that the Member for ### didn't have the brains of a sheep.


One Parliamentarian was ruled out of order in 1949 in the New Zealand Parliament for saying of another MP that “his brains could revolve inside a peanut shell for a thousand years without touching the sides.”


John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich to John Wilkes, a political activist:
“Sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!”

Wilkes replied:
“That sir, depends on whether I first embrace your Lordship’s principles or your Lordship’s mistresses.”


“Why should I question the monkey when I can question the organ grinder.”

MP Aneurin Bevan (1897 – 1960), comment made in the House of Commons whilst questioning the Foreign Minister, Selwyn Lloyd, during the Suez Crisis in 1956, when he saw the Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden enter the House.


Question Time, Australian House of Representatives, 1992:

John Hewson (Leader of the Opposition): I ask the Prime Minister: if you are so confident about your view of Fightback, why will you not call an early election?

Prime Minister Paul Keating: The answer is, mate, because I want to do you slowly. There has to be a bit of sport in this for all of us. In the psychological battle stakes, we are stripped down and ready to go. I want to see those ashen-faced performances; I want more of them. I want to be encouraged. I want to see you squirm out of this load of rubbish over a number of months. There will be no easy execution for you. You have perpetrated one of the great mischiefs on the Australian public with this thing, trying to rip away our social wage, trying to rip away the Australian values which we built in our society for over a century, and if you think I'm gonna put you out of your misery then you can think again!


From a past Bytes:

Whilst Gough Witlam was PM and whilst Whitlam was addressing Parliament, he was critical of the Country Party, as the National Party was then called. Rural MP Sir Winton Turbull shouted at him 'I am a Country member'.

Whitlam quickly responded with 'We remember', which earned applause from both sides of the House.

Whitlam later elaborated: 'He could not understand why, for the first time in all the years he had been speaking in the House, there was instant and loud applause from both sides.”


“If there was a university degree for greed, you cunts would all get first-class honours.”

- Paul Keating, then Treasurer, in 1985 after backbenchers had complained about having to substantiate, for tax purposes, their electoral allowances.


John Gorton, Prime Minister of Australia 1968-1971, was accused of having an affair with his personal assistant Ainsley Gotto. Gorton relied on Gotto for political advice. When Minister for the Air Dudley Erwin was omitted from the Ministry following a reshuffle in 1969, Erwin was asked the reason by media representatives. He famously replied “It wiggles, it's shapely and its name is Ainsley Gotto.”

On one occasion, an MP addressing the House in a speech critical of the Government asked why the Prime Minister was not present and where was he? “He’s gone to Mount Ainslie” interjected another MP, referring to a prominent landmark and tourist attraction in Canberra.


“He would make a drum out of the skin of his own mother in order to sound his own praises.”

David Lloyd George on Sir Winston Churchill.


“A sheep in sheep’s clothing.”

Winston Churchill on Labour Prime Minister Clement Attlee.

He also said of Atlee:

“An empty taxi arrived at 10 Downing Street, and when the door was opened, Attlee got out.”


“He is a modest man with much to be modest about.”


“I’ve met serial killers and assassins but nobody scared me as much as Mrs Thatcher.”

Labour’s Ken Livingstone commenting or British PM Margaret Thatcher.


And another repost from a past Bytes, to finish:

In 1835, the Irish Roman Catholic leader Daniel O'Connell attacked Benjamin Disraeli during a by election (which Disraeli lost, he not entering Parliament until 1837). O’Connell referred to Disraeli as the “'worst possible type of Jew” and stated that:
He has just the qualities of that impertinent thief on the cross, and I verily believe, if Mr. Disraeli's family herald were to be examined and his genealogy traced, that same personage would be discovered to be the heir at law of the exalted individual to whom I allude.
Disraeli, in a letter to the Times, replied:
Yes, I am a Jew, and when the ancestors of the right honourable gentleman were brutal savages in an unknown island, mine were priests in the temple of Solomon.
(Commonly it is stated that Disraeli made the above response in the House of Commons but that is incorrect. It should also be noted that Disraeli was a practising Christian, despite his Jewish background, and that Jews were not allowed to enter Parliament until 1858).

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