The video: British Prime Minister David Cameron is deflecting charges of sexism after telling a female member of Parliament to "calm down, dear." (See the footage below.) The comment, which came during a heated debate on health care, was directed at Angela Eagle, a member of the Labor Party's shadow cabinet. Labor demanded an apology, saying the barb was "patronizing, sexist, insulting, and un-prime ministerial." Cameron shrugged off the objections of rival politicians. "I'm not going to apologize," he said. "You do need to calm down."
The reaction: Cameron's macho bullying was appalling, even for the House of Commons, which has seen more than its share of "extraordinary displays of boorishness" over the years, says Aida Edemariam in The Guardian. Cameron implied that Eagle, as a woman, was hysterical, and should let the men make the decisions. "Frankly, he only failed to pat her gently on the head." Words like "dear" and "sweetie" never sound good, says Elizabeth Flock in The Washington Post. But maybe Cameron was just trying to be funny. The line is a popular British catchphrase, and he has used it before in the House of Commons — "toward a man" — during a 2007 debate on Afghanistan. Why didn't anyone object then? Watch the exchange below:
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