13 November 2019 20:37
From 'onanism' to 'spaffing', Boris Johnson's obsession with masturbation is revolting and pathetic I am not easily offended but his language shows he shouldn't be in the mightiest office in the land By Simon Kelner Wednesday, 13th November 2019, 4:41 pm Updated Wednesday, 13th November 2019, 5:40 pm Boris Johnson's lewd language isn't fit for a PM (Photo: Scott Heavey/Getty Images) This is a purely speculative proposition, but I'd wager that Mrs Ashworth, a native of inner city Manchester, is not easily impressed. Her son Jon, the shadow health secretary, suggested as much in an interview with Sky's Kay Burley when he made Mrs Ashworth the unwitting benchmark for whether Boris Johnson had overstepped the mark with another reference to masturbation in a public appearance. "Pathetic, innit," he said. "I don't think my mum in Urmston would be impressed with that." Mrs Ashworth, surely, is not the only one. The First Lord of the Treasury is not someone to whom, in the normal course of events, we would look for a rhetorical flourish on the subject of self-abuse, but it would appear to be a particular interest of Mr Johnson's.
Sign up to our newsletter i's opinion newsletter: talking points from today Thanks for signing up! Sorry, there seem to be some issues. Please try again later. Submitting... In a major speech yesterday, he said that Labour's plans to have repeat referendums on EU membership and Scottish independence would be "an expense of spirit and a waste of shame, more political self-obsession and onanism".
This is an oh-so-clever allusion to Shakespeare's Sonnet 129, in which the narrator is having an internal debate about sexual desire, and the feeling of self-disgust that accompanies primal urges. Boris Johnson has now said a "stray early draft" of his speech referred to onanism, which he did not say in the final version. It's worth noting, however, that this "stray early draft" was briefed out under embargo to journalists by the Tory press office yesterday. Anyway, what his audience at an electric car manufacturer in the West Midlands would have made of this classical flight of fancy is anyone's guess. Leave aside the inappropriate nature of his comments, in terms of both taste and relevance, the use of the word onanism - a particularly arcane term that has become a reference to masturbation - would have had much of the country reaching for a dictionary. To save you the trouble, it refers to the biblical story of Onan (Genesis, chapter 38), who "spilled his seed on the ground" rather than father a child. Technically, onanism refers to the act of coitus interruptus rather than masturbation, but Boris Johnson is not a man to be bothered by such issues of exactitude. What he really meant to say, and what may have resonated more with his natural constituency, is that Jeremy Corbyn is a tosser, and that having another referendum is merely "spaffing money up the wall". (Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images) Spaffing? That may be a new one for Mrs Ashworth, too. This was the charming way Mr Johnson, while on an LBC phone-in programme, described efforts to track down sex offenders - "You know, £60m I saw was being spaffed up a wall on some investigation into historic child abuse," he said. Spaffing is a slang term for - guess what? - masturbation, and it beggars belief that a man who could use this crude, inappropriate terminology when discussing such a highly delicate and troubling issue as child sex abuse could end up occupying the mightiest office in the land. I don't know how many more euphemistic references to masturbation Mr Johnson has in his oratorical armoury - I would suggest the Viz annual "Roger's Profanisaurus" if he gets stuck - and it is tempting to pass this all off as a casual ejaculation (v.t. to utter suddenly and vehemently), or the colourful language of an incorrigible man who has a healthy disregard for convention. Boris is Boris, as his predecessor said. But language matters, at a time of division and discord more than any other. I don't know about Mrs Ashworth, but I am not easily offended. Boris Johnson criticised for making 'crude insults' about Jeremy Corbyn Photo: PA PA Wire/PA Images The prime minister has been accused of using off-colour language and descending to 'crude insults' after using a lewd and arcane term in an attack on Jeremy Corbyn. Email this article to a friend To send a link to this page you must be logged in. Become a Supporter The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism In his first keynote speech of the election campaign, Boris Johnson is expected to accuse the leader of the opposition of political "onanism", an antiquated word for masturbation. The Conservative Party released extracts of the speech ahead of the PM's address which also showed Johnson will complain about the 'groundhoggery' which is tainting Brexit debate. The speech reads: "We can honour the wishes of the people, or else we can waste more time, at the cost of a billion pounds per month, and have two more referendums, one on Scotland and one on the EU - an expense of spirit and a waste of shame, more political self-obsession and onanism." You may also want to watch: Speaking to the Independent, a Labour source said: "We're not bothered by Johnson's obscure, crude insults because we've got our eyes on the prize - real change for the many not the few." The lewd Johnson comment is not be the first time the PM has talked about onanism, or masturbation, in political life. Johnson previously claimed police money spent investigating historic child abuse was "spaffed up the wall". Jon Ashworth, the shadow health and social care secretary, said the comments were "pathetic". "Don't think my mum would be impressed with that," he told Kay Burley on Sky News' Kay Burley at Breakfast show. One response to the comments online asked: "Why is Boris Johnson always talking about 'spaffing' and wanking? Is it cos he's got an elective dysfunction?"