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"Dancing your way out of Europe" by UK Prime Minister Theresa May
"Dancing your way out of Europe" by UK Prime Minister Theresa May
Image: Victoria Jones/PA Images

'Shove it up your h**e', 'cop on' and PC gone mad: Some of the best burns of 2018

Epic put downs, quick wit and cutting criticisms make this year’s list.
Dec 30th 2018, 6:31 PM 27,977 10

ANOTHER YEAR GONE, and another year of people using colourful language to forcefully make their point in public life.

Of course, language need not be crude in order to make your point when a nice cutting remark will do.

There’s been quite a few notable burns that hit the headlines this year and, while this cannot be exhaustive, here are some of the best:

‘Cop on’

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

The Irish people voted overwhelmingly in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment from the Constitution in May.

In the aftermath, however, independent TD Clare Daly had some choice words for those trying to claim credit for it passing, and in particular politicians. 

“Let us be honest however and point out that politicians have not led on this issue,” she said. “This has been an uphill battle. A boulder has been pushed up a hill for decades and no one here was behind it. Let us be honest about it for once.

In fact, a lot of people here were sitting on the boulder, making it even more difficult for those outside who wanted to push for change. Others, of course, decided to jump ahead and claim some of the glory once the boulder was at the top of the hill and about to go down the other side, even though they had done none of the pushing.

“I do not say that to score points, but to learn the lesson because there is going to be a next time. Perhaps we can learn something next time around. We need to move to enact the legislation.

Even today, however, I have heard people trying to out-posture each other as to who will be the most radical, claiming we should cancel all holidays between now and forever and bring in legislation tomorrow or even yesterday. It is nonsense. Can we please cop on with the games, which are despicable?

‘Dead’ serious

In fairness, a whole article could cover the Ireland Simpsons Fans page on Facebook and the meme culture of reacting to world news through the lens of classic scenes from the show.

The page is often at its best when dealing with Irish stories that have been magnified on a world stage. 

And none was better this year than the time that Ballybrack FC hit headlines around the world for faking the death of a player.

Ireland Simpsons Fans responded in typically hilarious fashion. 

simpsons ballybrack Source: Facebook

simpsons ballybrack 2 Source: Irish Simpsons Fans/Facebook

ballybrack simpsons Source: Irish Simpsons Fans/Facebook

Dead serious

In an altogether more serious matter, Mr Justice Peter Charleton published his report on the hearings of the Disclosures Tribunal.

And it was damning. It found that there was a “campaign of calumny” by former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan against Maurice McCabe, that was “actively aided” by former garda press officer Superintendent Dave Taylor.

The Supreme Court justice goes in particularly hard on some of the main players in the whole saga – particularly Taylor.

But it is perhaps this quote on the culture of PR spin in Irish life that has the most cutting effect.

He said: “It seems that our public life is now to be dominated by spin and that plain speaking is elided in favour of meaningless public relations speak. This is a hideous development in Irish public life.”

Dick Van Facepalm

In this world, a remarkably effective put down doesn’t always need words.

Piers Morgan is partial to a regular spat on Twitter, and maybe didn’t think he was getting into one when he tweeted about “PC gone mad” and 92-year-old actor Dick Van Dyke.

Morgan wrote: “Imagine being called Dick Van Dyke in this PC-crazed era? Poor guy. He’ll have to change his name to Richard Van Non-Binary-Gender-Fluid.”

And Van Dyke’s response?

Being none too plussed about it all.

‘Shove it up your hole’

Boyzone made an appearance on the Late Late Show in November, but were minus one member when they performed – as Shane Lynch was running late.

He did make it, however, just in time for Ryan Tubridy to roll out the infamous clip of their debut on the show in 1993. 

And Lynch wasn’t impressed.

“I busted by bollocks to get here,” he said. “Do you see that clip? You can shove it up your fucking hole. No I don’t give a fuck.”

Safe to say that clip won’t be rolled out at parties.

Brexit wounds

Where to start here? We could have a whole article on this one. 

It was a tumultuous year for the UK, as it hurtles with increasing uncertainty towards Brexit.

There were plenty of opportunities for consternation among Irish people as, time and time again, British politicians demonstrated a remarkable lack of coherence on just how Northern Ireland works.

When Theresa May was bringing her agreed Brexit deal to the House of Commons – amid a flurry of resignations – comedian David Baddiel decided to poke some fun. 

UK political commentator Ian Dunt is also fond of a putdown as far as Brexit is concerned.

Nothing to see here

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross has had to contend with a few gaffes this year.

A press release containing quotes from him praising an Irish world champion used the wrong name for the sportsperson.

When he attempted to distance himself from the Bus Connects plan, he was widely criticised. 

Labour Senator Kevin Humphreys said that the minister is “asleep at the wheel”.

“Minister Ross seems to have a gross misunderstanding of his role if he believes the largest review of public transport seen in Dublin in decades has ‘nothing to do with him’,” Humphreys said.

Fianna Fáil’s Robert Troy also wasn’t impressed. He said: ““In true Shane Ross form, what he says in public and in private in his own constituency are two different things. He’s all at sea.”

Any other putdowns, comebacks or burns from the year stick out for you? Let us know in the comments…

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Sean Murray

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