I am constantly amazed at how much swearing we hear today compared to only a few years ago.
The question is why should I or anyone else be shocked by the use of language that in the past people may have considered unacceptable.
It came home to me the other day that there is a time when cursing is the only appropriate way to express how you really feel as I watched Mhairi Black MP mutter in the House of Common, “You’re talking shite hen”
It was aimed at Conservative MP Caroline Nokes who was saying the Scottish government already has a wide range of powers which would allow them to alleviate the Governments proposed changes in housing benefits.
Given the difference in views between the SNP and Conservatives in Westminster the sentiment can be well understood.
Whether or not the ‘lip readers’ who say Mhairi Black actually said it are correct or not is not as important as the fact that it reflected what the majority of people up and down the country think about Members of Parliament.
Years ago, and I am talking decades, the worse swear word or insult I ever heard my dad use when he was really annoyed was “balls” follows by the name of who he was talking to.
So hearing him say “balls David” was when I knew I’d overstepped the mark and that he was letting me know I was speaking utter nonsense.
Now I wouldn’t want anyone to think that I’m a prude who never uses expletives and having worked down the pit (coal mine to you youngsters) and served in the Royal Navy I can and do in certain circumstances use what is colloquially called colourful language.
The difference is that as time has moved on it appears it is now more acceptable to swear anywhere and in front of anyone.
How my father would have reacted to seeing and hearing men swearing in front of women I can only guess at but I suspect he would be less than pleased.
Which brings me back to the subject where it seems the word is used by Ms Black – ‘shite’ – is somehow acceptable anywhere.
For those who are interested the medical use of the word it is a study, (yes there are people who actually study it) of fecal excrement which is all well and good but most of use it as a term of reproach.
But why is ‘shite’ more acceptable than other expression such as crap, bollocks or some other more descriptive expletive?
What is it about the word ‘shite ‘that makes just about everyone who hear it used think – “yes that sums it up”.
And why is it that ‘shite’ is one of those words that is unusually unique in its use to the British.
And why ‘shite’ and not the shorter version ‘shit’?
What is it that by using the ‘i’ as in ‘light’ as opposed to as in ‘hit’ and adding an ‘e’ makes it a more acceptable expression?
The Scots in my opinion are the masters of using the word and if you don’t agree just take the time to listen to the comedian Kevin Bridges use of it.
It is perhaps something to do with the accent and especially the ‘industrially aggressive sounding Glaswegian’ accent that gives it added emphasis.
Which brings me back to the youngest MP in Westminster and her use of the word.
Should I and was I offended?
Not in the least
Because no matter how intelligent you are and what even command of the English Language and vocabulary you have sometimes there are only certain words that fully express your feelings.
This was one such case, the reality of which is how many of us has listened to politicians and fumed that what they were saying was worthless and utter nonsense, thinking to ourselves ‘that’s shite’.
So well done Mhairi Black for saying in the House of Commons what the rest of us would love to but will never have the opportunity to say.