Gammon (insult)

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According to users of the insult, right-wing white men appear as pink as gammon meat when emotional

Gammon is a pejorative term used in British political culture since around 2012, which received press coverage in 2018. In 2018 it became particularly known as a term to describe white people, especially those on the political right or who supported Brexit, who appear pink-faced when emotional.[1][2][3] The term is a comparison of their flushed skin colour to the pink of gammon, i.e. salted pork leg.[4]

In 2012, Caitlin Moran wrote that British Prime Minister David Cameron resembled "a slightly camp gammon robot" and "a C3PO made of ham" in her 2012 book Moranthology.[5][6][7][8]

In 2015, Ruby Tandoh called Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood a "walking gammon joint".[7]

In 2017, children's author Ben Davis tweeted a picture of nine members of a BBC Question Time audience and referred to them as "the Great Wall of Gammon".[9] This is arguably what led to the term becoming a Twitter meme.[10]

In 2018, there was some debate in the British media around whether the term was racist or ageist.[3][6] Actor and writer David Schneider has argued that it is a reaction to name-calling by some on the right, including terms like "snowflake, cuck, remoaner, libtard, beta, SJW and triggered".[8]

The term was employed by Charles Dickens in a descriptive sense in his 1838 novel, Nicholas Nickleby, to describe a character who is burly, tough and patriotic:[11]

The time had been, when this burst of enthusiasm would have been cheered to the very echo; but now, the deputation received it with chilling coldness. The general impression seemed to be, that as an explanation of Mr. Gregsbury’s political conduct, it did not enter quite enough into detail; and one gentleman in the rear did not scruple to remark aloud, that, for his purpose, it savoured rather too much of a 'gammon' tendency.

The meaning of that term—gammon,' said Mr. Gregsbury, 'is unknown to me. If it means that I grow a little too fervid, or perhaps even hyperbolical, in extolling my native land, I admit the full justice of the remark. I am proud of this free and happy country. My form dilates, my eye glistens, my breast heaves, my heart swells, my bosom burns, when I call to mind her greatness and her glory.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Want to succeed as a middle-aged modern man? Google Kendrick Lamar". Evening Standard. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  2. ^ "Is the EU really plotting to switch Britain to 'Berlin Time'?". Metro. 5 February 2018. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Is it offensive to call ruddy-faced middle-aged Tories 'gammons'?". the Guardian. 14 May 2018. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  4. ^ "Opinion: As a right-leaning Brexiteer I know the Left is not going to win back Ukip 'gammon' voters with insults and ridicule". The Independent. 8 May 2018. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  5. ^ Moran, Caitlin. 2012. Moranthology p.27
  6. ^ a b Serhan, Yasmeen. "Pork Legs Are Shaking Up British Politics". The Atlantic.
  7. ^ a b "Are You A Gammon? Decoding The Political Insult Of The Moment". Esquire. 14 May 2018. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  8. ^ a b Sommerlad, Joe (15 May 2018). "Gammon: Why is the term being used to insult Brexiteers and where does Charles Dickens come into it?". The Independent. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Ben Davis on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2018-11-21.
  10. ^ "Oxford Dictionaries on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2018-11-21.
  11. ^ Elledge, Jonn. "Turns out, Charles Dickens invented the concept of "gammon" in 1838". The New Statesmen. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  12. ^ Dickens, Charles (1995). The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby. Wordsworth. p. 184. ISBN 9781554433629.