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Savaged like a dead sheep

Posted by Gary on August 15, 2003

In Reply to: Savaged like a dead sheep posted by Lewis on August 15, 2003

: : In his autobiography, "Coflict of Loyalty", Geoffrey Howe refers to being taunted by Denis Healey with this phrase, but suggests that healey may have been recycling an insult first used by Winston Churchill. Does anyone know any more about this?

: Definitely a recycled quip - I think each generation of Parliamentarians re-use it. I have a feeling that it may go back to the Victorian era or beyond.

: It's in the same league as having a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent.

Churchill did refer to Clement Attlee as "a sheep in sheep's clothing". He wasn't best buddies with Attlee (for obvious reasons if you know a bit about British history) and also called him - "a modest man - he has much to be modest about".

Winnie saved his best putdowns for women though:

Lady Astor: Winston, if you were my husband I'd put poison in your tea.
Churchill: and if I were your husband I'd drink it.

Bessie Bradock: Winston, you're drunk.
Churchill: Bessie you're ugly. I'll be sober in the morning.

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