A Parliamentary Select Committee today issued its findings on the question of whether swearing is ‘big and clever’, ruling that profanity is indeed ‘very funny’ in most instances. The announcement has outraged the Conservative Party, with leader David Cameron calling the ruling ‘f*****g ridiculous’.
The all-party Committee, led by Labour backbencher Ann Coffey, was set up in January this year with a remit to investigate the state of swearing in the UK, measuring impact according to agreed parameters. These included ‘making the swearer look hard and cool’, ‘shocking the person being sworn at’, ‘vocabulary’ and ‘timing’.
The committee looked at famous instances of swearing in the public eye as well as everyday swearing on the street during its discussions. In its report: ‘Towards a Swearier Future’, the Committee lists numerous instances of famous sweariness, including the profanities spoken by Bob Geldof during Live Aid, the Going Live Five Star call in debacle, the Sex Pistols’ infamous Bill Grundy interview and Jules Holland saying “groovy f*****s” on The Tube.
Said Coffey: “In all instances I think you can say swearing turned out to be pretty big and clever. We all wish we were the person who said Five Star was ‘sh*t’, don’t we? Just imagine how hard and cool that kid looked in school the next day. I bet they were an instant legend.”
However, despite the generally positive tone of the report, some instances were noted of swearing turning out to be ‘ineffectual at best, and somewhat embarrassing at worst.’ Committee member Stewart Jackson, a Conservative backbencher, said: “Oh god, you know when your mum swears because she’s a bit pissed or really angry? That’s just depressing isn’t it? And kids who swear every other word just to be cool – that’s really boring.”
Cameron, however, said today that swearing was always inappropriate and never hard or cool. “If someone starts swearing then they’ve lost the argument in my opinion,” he said. “There are a million words in the English language that are not profanities and there’s no reason we can’t use those.”
“Oh p*ss off granddad,” replied Coffey today.