Sunday 17 November 2019

Eavesdropping on a Twitter spat featuring Mark Mardell

For fans of bewildering Twitter exchanges, here's one dragging in the BBC's Mark Mardell in the wake of today's The World This Weekendwhich began with the Prince Andrew/Virginia Roberts story:

Father DidymusHi Mark Mardell. She's a 17 year old girl not a 17 year old woman. Language is important here.  
Mark Mardell: Isn’t that rather patronising? 
Father Didymus: Am I missing something here? Who exactly am I patronising? You? The child involved? 
Mark Mardell: The 17 year old- language is important but fluid - when boy/girl stop ? 16, 18, 21,48 ? 
Father Didymus: In a case of allegations of sex trafficking of minors by middle aged men? I would say probably when they aren’t minors any more. 
Mark Mardell: Reasonable point. But go out of your way to call 17 year olds girls or boys and see how long it is before you are called out. But then you are trying to make a political point, and I'm trying to be clear 
Father Didymus: A political point? In what way is calling you out for describing a child who has been a victim of a convicted sex offender a woman a political point? You know nothing about my politics!

At which point Mark backed away...


  1. We don't generally call people a man or woman unless they're 18 or over and that's the practice with the media, as far as I've observed. In America it may vary from State to State as to what age counts as being a minor or an adult.

    1. Which is "problematic" for those who would like to extend the vote to 16 year olds ... particularly those who want another referendum on EU membership ...

    2. Still 21 in Mississippi, and 19 in Alabama and Nebraska, and half of Canada.


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