Yours ! When politicians do the middle finger – POLITICO
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Sometimes even the most stoic politicians can’t take it anymore and, instead of responding with a reasoned argument, they simply turn the bird around on their opponent.
In the European Parliament this week, a very serious debate over a shipwreck of migrants off the Italian coast turned into a shouting match, with Czech lawmaker Tomáš Zdechovský accusing German socialite Birgit Sippel of giving her colleagues the middle finger.
“Do you think you can get away with this?” You should be before the ethics committee here. Calm down, colleague,” Zdechovský called out.
By the way, “Calm down, colleague” sounds perfect to be printed on a T-shirt, perhaps worn by an exasperated centrist MEP.
Parliament has seen offensive gestures before – and not just when a Bulgarian MEP gave the Nazi salute in the hemicycle. In April 2016 – when the idea of a country voting to leave the EU was just a Nigel Farage wet dream – arch-federalist Guy Verhofstadt and British conservative Syed Kamall had a disagreement over the terror response from the EU with the Brit doing what we might politely call a lewd hand gesture and what we might rudely describe as “called him a wanker”.
Kamall later admitted to making the gesture, tweeting: ‘You can take the North London boy out…actually I personally like Guy’ – although it’s implied that plenty of people are making the wanking gesture at Kamall as he walks through Haringey.
Fast forward to last year and another Tory, Andrea Jenkyns, gave the middle finger to what she described as a ‘barking crowd’ outside Downing Street.
The use of the middle finger as an insult is thought to date back to 4th century BC Athens, when the philosopher Diogenes told a group of visitors exactly what he thought of the orator Demosthenes while making the gesture. Meanwhile, the ancient Romans called the middle finger the digitus impudicus (“offensive, indecent finger”).
One of the oldest political majors for which there is photographic evidence is of then-Vice President Nelson Rockefeller giving the middle finger to hecklers at Binghamton University in New York – what has come to be known as the name “Rockefeller Salute”.
Rockefeller’s influence is still clearly felt, and not just in the European Parliament. In March, French Justice Minister Éric Dupond-Moretti gave the middle finger to Les Républicains (LR) leader Olivier Marleix, who had just reminded parliament that Dupond-Moretti was facing conflict charges. of interests. Dupond-Moretti said he “regrets this gesture”.
“Look, if that annoying French guy shows up, please let me know.
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Paul Dalison is POLICY‘s publisher of slot machine news.