You might not call someone these awful words. But politicians will


Politics can be ugly. This photo taken on Aug. 2, 2013, shows two Taiwanese lawmakers fighting before a vote on rebuilding a nuclear power plant.



Political insults, mud-slinging and slurs are as old as politics itself. 

The use of undiplomatic language has left many a politician red faced either from embarrassment or anger — particularly when the offensive comment was not intended for public ears.

One of the more recent incidents involved Australian Education Minister Christopher Pyne, who allegedly dropped the C-bomb during a session of parliament on Wednesday.

Pyne allegedly said to opposition leader Bill Shorten, "you're such a c-nt," after Shorten interrupted him during question time. 

A spokesman for Pyne said the minister used the word "grub," sparking a debate over whether Pyne had called Shorten a c-nt or a grub. 

Watch the video and make up your own mind.

Another memorable and recent insult involved two senior US diplomats who were discussing Europe's dithering over the anti-government protests in Ukraine earlier this year.

In a leaked audioclip of the conversation between Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland and US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, Nuland says: "F-ck the EU."

Apologies quickly followed, but the damage was done. 

It reminded us of other cases of political foot-in-mouth. Here are 10 examples GlobalPost dug up from the archives.


1. Village hag

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif shakes hands with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Sept. 29, 2013.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reportedly called his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh a “village hag” during a briefing for Pakistani journalists in September 2013.

The alleged insult — which was denied by Pakistani officials — came ahead of talks between the two leaders on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

That must have been an awkward meeting.


2. ‘Stupid crab bitch water buffalo face’


Thai protesters used this crude insult, in Thai, against then Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra during anti-government street protests late last year.

It refers to Shinawatra’s family nickname of “Boo,” which is Thai for crab.

They also had a shorter, catchier version: "Stupid bitch." 

Shinawatra was forced to step down earlier this month after a court found her guilty of abusing her power.


3. ‘Mangy maggot’

Two former Australian prime ministers: John Howard on the left and Paul Keating on the right.

Former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating’s linguistic ability is legendary, and many a politician and journalist has been on the receiving end of one of his tongue lashings.

In 1985, he described then opposition leader John Howard, who later become prime minister, as a “mangy maggot.”

“I am not like the leader of the opposition. I did not slither out of the cabinet room like a mangy maggot…” Keating said.


4. ‘Wolf in sheep’s clothing’


The Chinese government describes the Dalai Lama as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” and a “separatist,” claiming the Tibetan spiritual leader is using violence to achieve independence for the Buddhist region.

The red-robe-wearing Dalai Lama refrains from name-calling, in public at least, and says he just wants greater autonomy for Tibetans.


5. ‘Damp rag’

EU President Herman Van Rompuy.

UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage told European Union President Herman Van Rompuy in February 2010 that he had "all the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk."

Farage also described Van Rompuy's native Belgium as a "non-country."

Farage’s remarks came after Van Rompuy had delivered his first speech to members of the European Parliament following his appointment to the top job.


6. 'Clown with a testosterone boost'


That was how German Social Democrat Peer Steinbrueck described former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi at a party rally in February 2013 after Italy’s inconclusive national elections.

The comment created a diplomatic incident between the two countries. Italian President Giorgio Napolitano cancelled a dinner with Steinbruek, who was the SPD’s candidate for chancellor in the German national elections in September.

Steinbrueck also labeled comic-turned-politician Beppe Grillo a clown.


7. 'Unf--kable lard-arse'


Berlusconi has called people far worse things than clown. Like the time he reportedly called German Chancellor Angela Merkel an “unf--kable lard-arse.”

Berlusconi made the offensive remark in July 2011 during a wiretapped telephone conversation with the man accused of supplying prostitutes to the premier’s infamous parties.

And that was hardly his first gaffe. This is the same man who once described President Barack Obama as “suntanned.”


8. 'Too much of a saint'


It's not often that you hear the word "saint" being used as an insult. 

But in a television interview broadcast in May, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe said Nelson Mandela was “too much of a saint.”

“Mandela has gone a bit too far in doing good to the non-black communities, really in some cases at the expense of (blacks),” Mugabe said, seven months before the former South African president died.

“That is being too saintly, too good, too much of a saint.”


9. 'Liar'


It is rare for a head of state to publicly express their true feelings about another leader — except, of course, when there is a technical glitch.

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was left red-faced after he was overheard calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “a liar” in what was supposed to be a tête-à-tête with US President Barack Obama at the G20 summit in Cannes in 2011.

Unfortunately for Sarkozy the microphones in their meeting room had been switched on, enabling journalists in another room to listen in.

"I cannot bear Netanyahu, he's a liar,” Sarkozy told Obama. To which Obama replied: "You're fed up with him, but I have to deal with him even more often than you.”



10. 'Banana'


It probably wasn’t the kind of farewell outgoing US Ambassador to China Gary Locke was expecting.

An editorial entitled “Farewell, Gary Locke” published in Chinese state-owned China News on Feb. 27 described Locke as a “banana” — as in yellow on the outside, white on the inside. It's a racist term for Asians seen as identifying with Western values despite their skin color.

The ugly slur — condemned by many ordinary Chinese — was a reference to Locke’s Chinese heritage and his role as the top-ranking representative of the United States in China.

"But when a banana sits out for long, its yellow peels will always rot, not only revealing its white core but also turning into the stomach-churning color of black," the editorial said.

The piece also called Locke a “guide dog for the blind” after the US Embassy took in blind rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng following his dramatic escape from house arrest.

The United States did not dignify the name-calling with a response.