Bad handshake ‘joke’ makes the headlines

Evidently, a politician’s, and not even a particularly well-known one for that matter, bad joke is now considered national news.

The MP for Newport West, called Paul Flynn, has found himself embroiled in some kind of a media ‘scandal’ for saying “good riddance” to the traditional English handshake, and calling them “unnecessary, unhygienic, germ-spreading intrusions” on his blog. Which, incidentally, can be found here for anyone who’s intrigued as to what other insightful witticisms they can find on Mr Flynn’s blog.

The story appears to have made it into most of the national papers and even onto the ‘most read’ section of the BBC’s online site.

In true journalist style, and I do realise the irony that in the post directly below this I happen to have been desperately trying to defend the profession, they have clung to the most dramatic sounding part of this overall rather meaningless blog post. The Telegraph even has the audacity to write this headline: “Bone-crushing handshakes ‘should be treated as assault'”.

If you saw this headline then eagerly read below in the hope of finding out about some new legislation that is coming in to ban handshakes, or a story about a man whose hand was quite literally crushed to pieces in a handshake, you would have been rather disappointed to find out that it was merely referring to the rants of some politician in his personal blog.

Mr Flynn for his part seems to be treating the scandal with a surprising degree of anger. I mean, isn’t this absurd amount of publicity every politician’s dream?

In response to the backlash against his outcry towards this country’s worst social problem right now, oh yes the handshake of all things, he has written some new rather amusing statements, although I’m sure he doesn’t intent them to be amusing, on his blog such as:

“Is it necessary to warn when a JOKE appears?”, “Whoever reported this story broke journalist’s rules by not checking with me,” and finally…”This site is for an exchange of thoughts between intelligent people. Others have written in with moronic abuse. That is not allowed. The site has been cleansed.”

Finally, from his comments in the original blog post about how “oafs use them to prove the strength of their personalities with bone-crushers”, I think it’s safe to say we can guess what it feels like to greet Mr Flynn. And there really is nothing worse than a weak, wet handshake.

By Sophie Hudson

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