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N in the W

The Housing and Regeneration Bill. Nothing too exciting, nothing very contentious.
Lord Dixon-Smith (Con): The Homes and Communities Agency is not a body to which we object in principle, but it is an amalgamation of three pre-existing bodies, including the Housing Corporation and English Partnerships. Of course, the nigger in the woodpile, as the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, has already pointed out, is that it still incorporates what I call the hangover of the new towns legislation. If it were not for that, we would have little difficulty with the foundation of this agency. [Hansard]
Wait, what?
Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville (Con): My Lords, before my noble friend sits down, earlier in his speech he used a phrase about a woodpile. If your Lordships’ House were happy, it would perhaps be helpful if there were a revision to the wording of the phrase. (NB - Hansard does not do this)

Lord Dixon-Smith: My Lords, I apologise; I left my brains behind. I apologise to the House.
My mother remembers using the phrase when she was much younger; it was common currency at the time. She wouldn’t dream of doing so now, but even if she were to have a complete personality reversal and start gleefully saying it tomorrow, she is not—unless there’s an awful lot she hasn’t been telling me—an opposition front-bencher, and does not have to weigh her words so carefully.

Lord Dixon-Smith’s “I’m just a bumbling old codger” routine may be firmly rooted in fact, but it might not prove to be enough of a defence to save him. While I’m sure there are many in the Tory party who are still happy to bang such phrases around when they’re at home, most of them at least have begun to realise it might not be entirely acceptable in public. It’s not solely a Tory vice, though; the aged Lord Mackie of Benshie, LibDem spokesman on Scotland, is the previous person to have used this formulation in the chamber—with the rider, “if such an expression is allowed any more”—during a debate on Iraq, to the minister, Baroness Amos.

Baroness Amos

Dixon-Smith, however, is on the front bench of the official opposition, which might just do for him. He wouldn’t be much of a loss; he’s one of the few front-benchers who frequently give the impression of not having not the slightest clue what they’re doing there—as opposed to knowing why they’re there but just not being very good.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 8th, 2008 01:22 pm (UTC)
srsly? The N word, my my
Jul. 8th, 2008 07:17 pm (UTC)
Not entirely relevant, but the Landlord of my local pub, who is Daily Mail man incarnate, was the other evening prattling about his regard for the Duke of Edinburgh to an audience of regulars.

One regular: what's so great about 'im?
Landlord Dave: well, he said what he thought about them Chinese for a start.

Now, you need to be aware that one of the crew of regulars, a chap who is in there every night at the bar, is himself Chinese. He said nothing, but stared at Dave with narrowed (careful, careful) eyes.

It was some time before the penny dropped. Oh, Dave!

Fortunately Dave is not a spokesman on anything and we forgive him because he looks after his beer.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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