I see the veteran Labour MP Austin Mitchell is in trouble for having used the word rape in a ‘deeply offensive’ context. He had castigated the government for having failed to prevent Pfizer’s attempted acquisition of AstraZeneca, and added: ‘Roll up rapists.’ The woman who described Mitchell’s use of the word as ‘deeply offensive’ was the Wimmin’s Minister, Nicky Morgan. Presumably one can use the word rape only about the sexual violation, by force, of a woman. And that further, all such violations are equally abhorrent. All other uses for the word, which you will find in your dictionary – such as ‘pillage’ or ‘plunder’ are henceforth banned. Presumably this also stretches to oil seed rape, which will be henceforth known as oil seed non-consensual intercourse, and the stuff left over from wine-making. I don’t know what we should call that – perhaps we should invent a new word.
Poor old Austin should have said ‘roll up racists’, of course; if you can call someone a racist, even a multinational entity such as Pfizer, you are immediately in the right and no one can tell you off for anything.
More Spectator for less. Subscribe and receive 12 issues delivered for just £12, with full web and app access. Join us.