As Boris Johnson is criticised for his language in parliament, it’s emerged that UK politicians have also changed their tone online amidst the Brexit drama – namely that they’re swearing more on Twitter, which TBF is unsurprising.
According to a report by Gizmodo, MPs are swearing approximately four times more often now than they were in 2016, the year of the EU referendum. Analysing 485 MPs, the study outlined how many times each of them used the words ‘shit’ or ‘fuck’, with other swear words, including ‘bastard’, ‘bellend’, ‘prick’, ‘twat’, and ‘wanker’ grouped into one block. Logically, ‘shit’ – the weakest swear word – is the most common curse used by MPs, while ‘fuck’ saw a significant increase in 2019.
It's early doors Piers but I say this hand on heart: go fuck yourself. You're a waste of space, air and skin. Trying to use Jo against us whilst encouraging the fascists is shocking even for a scrote like you. You make me sick.— Neil Coyle (@coyleneil) September 26, 2019
Gizmodo based its findings on Ofcom’s 2016 study of public attitudes towards offensive language, which ruled out words like ‘beaver’ (LOL) and ‘knob’ because apparently most people don’t know what they mean, as well as twee British words like ‘arse’ and ‘bollocks’. My favourite swear word ‘cunt’ was also excluded because the only person who used it was Jo Swinson in a tweet quoting Donald Trump (turns out MPs are losers after all!) The study also omitted quote tweets, retweets, and MPs who no longer sit in parliament.
Although profanity has significantly increased since 2016, MPs aren’t always swearing about Brexit, sometimes taking time out to cuss Trump, or express glee over the World Cup (pre England’s defeat… no, you’re crying).
While there’s no doubt Brexit has increased tension in online discussion, it could also simply be that more MPs are on Twitter these days. Although, as language used by those in power can be incredibly influential – Trump’s Twitter tirades often end up shaping far-right discourse, leading to real-world consequences – it’s important for them to be mindful of their words. But if they’re swearing to tell Piers Morgan to go fuck himself, then keep it up TBH.