arta insultelor...

I’ve never been so insulted...

In honour of a campaign to revoke the law that prohibits insults, we present some of the rudest remarks ever made.

George Best on David Beckham
"He can't kick with his left foot, he can't head, he can't tackle, and he doesn't score many goals. Apart from that, he's alright" George Best on David Beckham Photo: PA/GETTY
The insult took its honourable place in British life on the basis that if it didn’t hurt, it didn’t work. These days, though, the prohibitionists are crowding in, spreading the cult of sensitivity across the land. Free speech is under threat.
A little-noticed landmark in this grim process was the passing of the Public Order Act of 1986, which made it an offence to use “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour”. Criminalising the use of words that someone – anyone – within earshot might find “insulting” has led to a 70 per cent rise in public order convictions. In 2006, a student was put into the cells for asking if a police horse was gay.
Now, a campaign to overturn the Act’s deadly Section 5 has brought together an unlikely coalition of Right and Left politicians, libertarians and social conservatives, under the inviting banner: “Feel free to insult me”.
Those who wish to do so may draw some inspiration from our selection of the best ever insults and put-downs, which under current legislation ought not to be uttered…
“He has been going around the country deliberately stirring up apathy”
William Whitelaw on Harold Wilson
“When they circumcised Herbert Samuel, they threw away the wrong bit”
David Lloyd George on the Liberal home secretary
“Tell him I can only deal with one sh-- at a time”
Winston Churchill on being disturbed in his toilet by a call from the Lord Privy Seal
“His smile is like the silver fittings on a coffin”
Benjamin Disraeli on Robert Peel
“He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends”
Oscar Wilde
“It is a typical triumph of modern science to find the only bit of Randolph which is not malignant, and remove it”
Evelyn Waugh, upon hearing that Randolph Churchill had been operated on for a benign tumour
“Her trouble is that she lacks the power of conversation, but not the power of speech”
George Bernard Shaw
“He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts – for support rather than illumination”
Andrew Lang
“They have sent me a Flanders mare!”
King Henry VIII on Anne of Cleves
“A huge fur ball on two overdeveloped legs”
Nancy Mitford on Princess Margaret
“He’s a world expert on leisure. He’s been practising it all his life”
Neil Kinnock on the Duke of Edinburgh
“Such an active lass. She loves nature in spite of what it did to her”
Bette Midler on Princess Anne
“After Braveheart, they said he’d never make a true Scotsman, but look at him now – alcoholic and racist”
Frankie Boyle on Mel Gibson
“Elizabeth Taylor’s so fat, she puts mayonnaise on her aspirins”
Joan Rivers
“A face to launch a thousand dredgers”
Jack de Manio on Glenda Jackson
“His acting is so bad, even his impersonation of a drunk is unconvincing”
Critic Harry Medved on Dean Martin
“Just because she’s dead doesn’t mean she’s gonna change”
Bette Davis on Joan Crawford
“Curse the blasted, jelly-boned swines, the slimy, belly-wriggling invertebrates, the miserable, sodding rotters, the flaming sods, the snivelling, dribbling, dithering, palsied, pulse-less lot that make up England today. God, how I hate them”
DH Lawrence after having his manuscript of 'Sons and Lovers’ rejected
“That’s not writing, it’s typing”
Truman Capote on Jack Kerouac
“Literary awards are like haemorrhoids. Sooner or later, every ----hole gets one”
Frederic Raphael
“He chews more than he bites off”
Clover Adams on Henry James
“So boring, you fall asleep halfway through her name”
Alan Bennett on Arianna Stassinopoulos (now Huffington)
“I have tried to read Shakespeare, and I found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me”
Charles Darwin
“[You are a] knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a lily-livered, action-taking knave, a whoreson, glass-gazing, super-serviceable finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch”
Kent in 'King Lear’
“I would not marry her, though she were endowed with all that Adam had left him before he transgressed”
Benedick in 'Much Ado About Nothing’
“She hath more hair than wit, and more faults than hairs, and more wealth than faults”
Speed in 'The Two Gentlemen of Verona’
“In my experience, men are creatures with two legs and eight arms”
Jayne Mansfield
“I married beneath me. All women do”
Lady Astor
“Biologically speaking, you are more likely to be attacked by the female of the species”
Desmond Morris
“In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily”
Count Talleyrand
“Women should be obscene and not heard”
Groucho Marx
“Being a woman is a terribly difficult business, as it consists principally of dealing with men”
Joseph Conrad
“The only time my wife and I had a simultaneous orgasm was when the judge signed the divorce papers”
Woody Allen
“Sir, you are drunk.”
“Indeed, madam, and you are ugly. But I shall be sober in the morning”
Winston Churchill to Bessie Braddock
“I don’t think heading the ball has got anything to do with it. Footballers are stupid enough anyway”
A Football Association spokesman refuting a claim that heading the ball could cause brain damage
“Most people are using two-piece cues now, but Alex Higgins doesn’t have one because they don’t come with instructions”
Steve Davis
“He can’t kick with his left foot, he can’t head, he can’t tackle, and he doesn’t score many goals. Apart from that, he’s all right”
George Best
on David Beckham
“The only time he opens his mouth is to change feet”
Irish golfer David Feherty on Nick Faldo
“What problems do you have, apart from being blind, unemployed and a moron?”
John McEnroe to a Wimbledon spectator