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January 27, 2010


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I was shown a way to deal with this a while ago on a personal safety course.

It just required the receivee of the over grippy handshake to slowly apply a bit of pressure in one direction towards the aggresors thumb (though I cannot remember which direction one is meant to "twist" ones wrist). From what I remember, they don't really have any choice but to let go.

I tried it the next time I encountered an aquaintance (a giant of a man, compared to me) who has this "thing" of always greeting you with an over long, bone crushingly painful hand shake. He let go straight away and hasn't been over forceful with his handshakes with me since.

I am not sure if, being an MP and having rheumatoid arthritis, that this is a suitable solution for Paul. Try it on a friend first.

Richard Lavery

Um, yeah it's a blog and so I agree it's for writing whatever you want, but you are an MP? If it's such a problem then why don't you just NOT shake hands with people? It's such a typically pessimistic thing for an MP to go on about.


...or it could be a sprained wrist.

Still, gotta love the Enid Blyton approach to character assessment.

Firm handshake = trustworthy; eyes too close together = sly; narrow mouth = bitter; kindly, twinkling eyes = good with children, even if he's an otherwise scary-looking tramp that lives in the woods.

That was a joke too. I hope it doesn't become incorporated into face-scanning technology and usable as evidence in a court of law.

Rob McGregor

I am intrigued as to how we should Police the quality of handshakes as, I am sure you will agree, the offering of and positive reception to a handshake means that this is consentual and difficult to legislate against. I recommend that we are all fitted with sensors that measure the pressure put on our hands. That way, alarms can be rung and the offending person, apprehended without further recourse to the facts of real events as they unfold. I would also recommend that the pressure-measurement device should be compulsory and along with further cameras and recording devices, be fitted at a young age to all people in the UK. Then we can all be safe in every eventuality. Or something like that...

We could always ban people from leaving their homes and touching others.


Paul, I'm sorry, but with Labour's record of banning things which they think "unhygenic" or otherwise disapproves of means that we "slack-jaws" (also known as 'the electorate') have every right to hyperactively jump all over comments by one of the 646 with the power to make law.

There has been a new criminal offence every day Labour's been in power. It may start as a joke, and end up as a requirement, in law, to obtain written consent before shaking hands.

For the record, I don't like anyone with a limp, moist handshake for it inevitably bespeaks a bloodless individual with no moral fibre, and a yellow streak a mile wide who is not to be trusted.

Kay Tie

"It is highly unlikely this would happen since consent would be deemed in such a social greeting."

A tourist was convicted in Texas for assault for tapping a woman on the arm in a cinema.



Wow. Looks like I missed a quite a party. They really do mostly come out at night, don't they?

Derek Andrews

You will not be charged with assault for a handshake unless consent is withdrawn beforehand (in which case you would be charged with battery anyway). It is highly unlikely this would happen since consent would be deemed in such a social greeting. It would only amount to assault or battery if consent is vitiated by words before the event occurs, yet the handshaker still goes ahead with his actions.

David Sands

Glad to see I'm not alone. I stopped handshakes years ago when I found out about the health risks. Often get puzzled looks but I quickly move on.
I don't know when or how handshakes got started but there's no reason why they can't stop.

Paul Flynn

Sorry to regular correspondents for the down market comments. I have stopped them now. Back to normal service soon.


It's a little futile pointing anything out to them Huw.
The font you are using is way too small!


"I am struggling to feel sorry for an MP who actually pays for something himself. And I think you will find he was not joking, He clearly doesn't like shaking the hands of the peasants..... Sorry" - Paul C

No one was asking you to feel sorry for an MP paying for something, it was simply a fact that the website is paid for by Paul, not by government funds or any other source.

The suggestion that someone might be charged for assault by handshake was the joke,
the comments on overly aggressive handshakes were reasonable, perhaps you could just get a grown up to help with your comprehension and you would find things just that little less confusing.


I am struggling to feel sorry for an MP who actually pays for something himself. And I think you will find he was not joking, He clearly doesn't like shaking the hands of the peasants..... Sorry


"Huw if you keep deleting all the posts that you don't like we won't get the thread of your replies..... deleting our post's means you are losing the argument ...fool" - James

I appreciate James that your imagination has placed me on Paul's staff but please remember that those things that happen in your head have no bearing on the real world, and apparently vice versa equally applies.
I am not employed by Paul or Labour nor do I have any connection with either of any kind.

Still if it suits, for the world you have created in your mind you can continue to believe that I somehow work for Paul and you can equally continue to believe that you are the very best and smartest of all the elves and that you live in the constituency of fairyland. Who am I to shatter your dreams.


Shock Horror!!!!

A 75 year old MP with Rheumatoid Arthritis makes a joke and the site gets flooded with rednecks.

Paul pays for this site himself.

He was making a joke otherwise known as a sense of humour.

Isn't it amazing but not suprising that some people are thick enough to get angry about it!

Steve Martin

Its interesting but until you prove that your 'assailant' actually intended to cause the harm then the most you will be able to settle for is the civil offence of battery which would then go down the standard of care and reasonableness route; nice try though.


"From: one of the strange, slack jawed droolers, who dared to have a different opinion." - James

Nah James you seem to share the same pointless opinion with all the other strange slack jawed droolers.

"No, Huw, he's an anti-smoking nazi too. ;-)" Dick Puddlecote
While the opinion of someone whose principle idea of wit is to use foul and abusive language matters to me as much as it does to anyone, I presume that Paul gets awarded this title of anti-smoking nazi by you for not being opposed to the ban on smoking in public places and not because of some deep dark plan to conquer Europe and to gather up all smokers, send them to concentration camps and slaughter them on an industrial scale.

If of course your comment was to point out the similar rather pathetic characteristics of those enraged by Paul's comments on handshaking and those enraged by the smoking ban, then you have a point. Although I would be rather surprised as you very much belong in their company.
Neither group seem to have the slightest concept of priorities, logic or sense


I suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis and although I am young-ish and "big and strong", some handshakes can cause me extraordinary pain. PF is right - too many people use them as a macho trial of strength. Don't outlaw them or expect them to go out of fashion but exercise restraint - the nicest warmest handshake is one where each person exerts equally firm but not bone-crushing pressure on the other.


Ah it all makes sense now, Paul's comments on handshaking were picked up by the Metro amongst others.
No wonder the slack jawed droolers have turned up.

Paul has done over a thousand blog posts, it's interesting to see the ones that really stir "the people".
Is it his stance on cannabis , nah
Iraq or Afghanistan , nah
WHO and the not serious but incredibly expensive pandemic - nah
Tackling the government on guarantees to underwrite the nuclear industry - nah

All they are interested in is that he dislikes shaking hands particularly with those who make it a trial of strength and endurance rather than a greeting.
Now that really makes their blood boil.

Think on Paul, you may need to rethink your campaign this year to take account of what "the people" really consider to be important.


Who are these angry people. It is called a blog guys you can write about what you like.

James: 'Good Grief Man, what is wrong with you ? trying to outlaw a handshake, you are supposed to be a representative of the community. Like the previous message said Get a Grip and stop being such a Wuss..'

Nobody is asking for handshakes to be banned, this is just silly.

Andrew Hale: 'I am staggered Paul!! Do you have nothing better to do with yuor time than to comment on such ridiculous topics as the shaking of hands by two people?'

The main item is about the most important news story of the day. I thought it was an interesting observation though.

'I am neither 'unhygenic' nor a 'dolt', but as a gentleman who shakes hands - i am insulted.'

You have to laugh at this.


"I am staggered Paul!! Do you have nothing better to do with yuor time than to comment on such ridiculous topics as the shaking of hands by two people? " - Andrew Hale.

Unwittingly ironic?


Wow the strange ones have found you Paul

"You over educated idiots have ruined this country, you have no idea at all,no idea." - Paul C
Blaming the educated for our woes, he may be right maybe everything would work out so much better if left to the ignorant and the stupid.

"I am ashamed to call myself British" - Richard
Well don't then Richard, it would suggest you were never actually proud of it anyway if peoples expenses claims are enough to tip the balance..

"Good Grief Man, what is wrong with you ? trying to outlaw a handshake" - James
He isn't James but by all means don't let that stop you.

Andrew Hale

I am staggered Paul!! Do you have nothing better to do with yuor time than to comment on such ridiculous topics as the shaking of hands by two people?
The handshake has been regarded as the standard way of greeting someone in the UK since long before your generation or mine, whether with dirty hands or clean hands.In fact, if you were to refuse my offer of a handshake i would not only be offended but would regard you as someone less than a gentleman. Politicians are currently viewed with some considerable disdain in this country and these kind of idiotic comments do not help your cause. I am neither 'unhygenic' nor a 'dolt', but as a gentleman who shakes hands - i am insulted.


"Who will be first person to be charged with assault by handshake?"

The one who greets a chap politely, then shakes him warmly by the throat, I guess.

Jolly Roger

I've met you Paul, some years ago,
When the shaking of hands was all the go.
I shook your mates hand, as it was offered,
And then shook yours, though reluctantly proffered.
I'd seen your hands, not a pretty sight,
With their obviously painful, arthritic blight.
So consequently my grasp was gentle,
With eye-to-eye look and smile deferential.
You smiled back and we conversed,
With your hand intact and no blood vessels burst.
And just so's I don't put you right off your tea.
I had washed my hands after having a pee.

Here's a useful ploy that's tactical,
Though some would say a little theatrical.
Next time you encounter a crusher of bones,
Scream out loud with plenty of moans.
Cradle your hand as if it were a daughter,
And swoon to a chair and call for some water.
Then watch with pleasure as the crusher gets crushed,
By the silence of the room that is suddenly hushed.
"Oh, how could he, Paul?" you'll hear people say.
And the crusher will certainly remember that day.


This is just an attempt to weaken an insurgency which is becoming more effective. We were told recently that the insurgency must be defeated otherwise Al-Qaeda would be given a great advantage. 'A war of necessity'.

Now it is acknowledged by the NATO generals and political leaders that the insurgency can’t be beaten militarily. It is clear that security has been deteriorating and recognised that the Taliban have a great deal of control throughout Afghanistan.

So the new strategy will be to try and draw the Taliban commanders into a political settlement, and bring reconstruction and employment to help stem the recruitment of ‘foot soldiers‘. As well as continuing the war.

This article puts the new strategy into perspective and indicates the difficulties:


It is not a complex situation really. The problem is that the political and military leadership only ever try to stop the leaks when things are going wrong. And in many cases of course, their hearts are not in the right place. They have been all over the place it seems to me. I hope they will begin to realise that they were wrong, and more importantly try to do what they can to put it right.

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