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The word brigade, originally used to describe a military unit, can also be used as a pejorative collective noun to describe an informal group of like-minded individuals with views with which the speaker disagrees. It is used as a mild term of disapproval or contempt, or in an attempt to belittle and ridicule the subject.
"Green welly brigade" refers in a deprecating way to well-heeled people who find their recreation in the countryside.
The 'Hang 'em and flog 'em brigade' is often used in British Politics to describe the far right who may support capital punishment, corporal punishment and a repeal of certain 'human rights'. The opposing side is often thus referred to as the 'Human rights brigade'.
The 'Nothing to hide, nothing to fear brigade' is used in regards to people who support increased state surveillance - particularly in the UK - with the justification that only people who are willingly committing crimes would need to worry about being under scrutiny. The opposing side is often called the 'Orwell brigade', the '1984 brigade', or the 'conspiracy brigade'.
The 'Think of the Children brigade' refers to proponents of the Nanny state, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It is a reference to a phrase spoken by The Simpsons character Helen Lovejoy.
The term may have had its origins in The Angry Brigade, a British anarchist group of the early 1970s.
- http://5cc.blogspot.com/2007/06/brilliance-of-construct-of-pc-brigade.html The brilliance of the construct of the PC Brigade
- http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/8-14-2002-24455.asp Suburban battle lines
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