WTF? Lib Dem MP Stephen Gilbert stands up for use of youth argot

by Stephen Tall on April 6, 2011

You will all be thinking about leaving school in a few weeks and must be thinking ‘WTF’ about going to university.

So said Stephen Gilbert, Lib Dem MP for St Austell and Newquay, when addressing an assembly of 200 Year 11 students at a local community college, prompting a local Tory councillor to complain to the school, accusing Mr Gilbert of being “out of touch”.

Headteacher David Parker is more forgiving: “I was there at the time and I know people have picked up on something that was said during the talk. Perhaps if he had thought about it before he said it he wouldn’t have used that phrase but maybe it was a slip of the tongue. If he had asked me before whether that was an appropriate term to use I would have said probably not. I am hoping not to dwell on the incident too much as the rest of the MP’s speech was very eloquent and engaging.”

As for Stephen, he’s unrepentant:

All I have to say in reply to this is OMG. From my perspective this is a nonsense political attack and is a bit petty. It was nothing more than a throwaway remark and I clearly wouldn’t have stood in front of a group of 16-year-olds and sworn. I don’t have a career suicide tendency.

Meeting constituents is a part of this job which I treasure the most. Needless to say, no offence was intended in my comments. I was simply communicating with a group of students in a language which they understand.

Sounds like a SIATC* to the Voice.

* Storm in a tea cup. As the young people say all the time.