Mind your mouth – the police are about

By Toby Neal | In-depth | Published:

Amid inflamed passions over Brexit, it’s handy to know what you can and can’t say about our current political impasse – here’s a handy guide.

Watch what you say, lest you should ignite a Brexit argument

In the wake of members of the Parachute Regiment larking about on a range and shooting a poster of Jeremy Corbyn with wax pellets, police have warned people to watch their language and to avoid whipping up the “incredibly febrile” atmosphere around Brexit.

For the benefit of readers who don’t want their collars felt, I have prepared a Top 30 glossary of phrases and terms in relation to Brexit and highlighted some of those which could get you into trouble.

1. “Up yours!” Harmless Tory party banter, as used by MP Mark Francois in regard to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, ideally accompanied by reversed Churchillian fingers.

2. “Brexit secretary.” A Cabinet minister who is about to resign.

3. “Shadow Brexit secretary.” A Shadow Cabinet minister who wants Britain to remain in the European Union. See also: chairman of the Exiting the European Union Select Committee.

4. “Take back control.” Assertion of UK sovereignty by cementing Parliament as the nation’s supreme decision-making body.

5. “Irony.” See above.

6. “Lie.” A political promise. See also: manifesto.


7. “A load of/bunch of... (insert appropriate word),” as in a collective description of MPs. This is totally banned, as offensive and upsetting to our Members of Parliament. Equally any protests involving eggs will result in an immediate jail sentence.

8.“Guy Fawkes.” Only to be used with additional commentary to express disdain and disapproval of the terrorist Mr Fawkes and what he was getting up to.

9. “Betrayal/traitors.” Make sure you have your toothbrush packed and ready if you slip into such language, which is an abusive and offensive mischaracterisation of our patriotic politicians as they do what is best for us all, and with the national interest at their heart, as they vote in accord with deeply held personal views or, failing that, the way their whips order them to.

10. “We didn’t know what we were voting for.” They didn’t know what they were voting for.


Brexit - pick your own definition

11. “Brexit” (noun). A place or destination in British mythology.

12. “Brexit” (verb). To display signs of confusion, division, and uncertainty.

13. “London.” A remote island capital north west of Brussels, cut off from mainstream thinking by the M25.

14. “Britain.” A place formerly known as Great Britain, now best referred to as the UK, pronounced as in “yuk.”

15. “Westminster.” A specially sealed environment within London to protect a group of people who display collective signs of hysteria, pathological contrariness, and lack of proportion.

16. “Danny Scene Conversion.” The act of supporting the ERG and then changing your mind and not supporting them.

17. “To Lammy.” To compare political opponents to the Nazis.

18. “Double Lammy.” To be compared both to Hitler personally and the Nazis generally.

19.“£350 million.” Approximate gross weekly British contribution (net £156 million) to the European Union which would be saved if we left.

20.“£39 billion.” Cost of Britain leaving the EU.

21. “Cliff edge”/”crash out.” Leaving the EU without a formal deal.

22. “ITN News.” ITN editorialising.

23. “Article 50.” Something which seemed a good idea at the time. Something to be overturned.

24. “Theresa May’s deal.” Michel Barnier’s deal with the UK on behalf of the EU.

25. “North.” Non-London areas of the UK which did not vote Remain (as coined by Tottenham MP David Lammy).

26. “Driven by nostalgia, where passports were blue, faces were white, and the map was coloured imperial pink.” Brexit voters, as described by Sir Vince Cable.

27. “Hard line.” Standard BBC prefix for Tory MPs who support Brexit.

28. “Ardent.” As in “ardent Remainer.” Occasional BBC prefix for any MP who supports Britain remaining in the EU.

29. “We must be careful with our language.” You must be careful with your language. Something MPs say about other MPs who say things they don’t agree with and who they want to shut up.

30. “Referendum.” A non-binding public vote, to be repeated as necessary.

Toby Neal

By Toby Neal
Feature Writer

A journalist in Shropshire for 40 years, mainly writes features and columns, especially about aspects of Shropshire history. Lives in Telford and is based at the Ketley headquarters.


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