Media,  The Left,  UK Politics

Chickpea Wars – Round One

There’s an old political tradition of insulting someone by referring disdainfully to the type of food they eat.

An Eighteenth Century Staffordshire man may have kicked the whole thing off by being waspish about the generally poor quality of the Scottish diet of the time. Here’s the ample-girthed Doctor’s definition of oats:

A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.


More recently the term ‘Bruschetta muncher’ has come to refer to a certain sort of middle class radical – an Islington or Hampstead dweller maybe who would almost certainly slurp latte too.

Language moves on though and phrases become stale with overuse, so congratulations to the New Statesman for bringing things up to date. Here’s Laurie ‘voice of a generation’ Penny at her passive-aggressive best in this piece about Saturday’s Anti-cuts demo. While our Laurie was bravely shinning up traffic lights to herald the rosy fingered dawn of the people’s revolution some of her colleagues proved rather more timid. How does she describe what they got up to at the weekend?

‘ …other groups had action plans that involved rather more than munching houmous in Hyde park and listening to some speeches.’

Hurrah! A brand new food-based insult is coined for political scaredy cats! But who could she be referring to?

Mehdi ‘kaffir’ Hassan thinks he’s being singled out by our favourite Riot Grrrrrl and he’s not going to take it any more:

I don’t like hummus. In fact, I despise hummus. I prefer going straight for the main “dead animal” course in my local Lebanese – a shawarma perhaps or even a lamb chop. But hummus? Never.

So the claim that those of us who preferred to go on the TUC march – rather than vandalise a state-owned bank or throw paint at the police – were just “munching houmous in Hyde park and listening to some speeches” would have offended me if it wasn’t so silly.

But my fellow NS blogger Laurie Penny is allowed to be silly if she wants to. If she wants to hang from a set of traffic lights in Oxford Circus, then that’s her prerogative. She’s entitled to her views – and her “riot boots”.

Mee-oow! Two large saucers of milk for Ms Penny and Mr Hassan please…

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