It’s all very well everyone having fun at the expense of the hapless Hansard reporter who sent a note to a Scottish MP querying whether he’d called the SNP 'big fairies'. He might well have done. Stranger things have been uttered in the Chamber of the House of Commons. 'Big fearties' for a start. I should know. I was a Hansard reporter for 12 years and pretty terrifying it could be. Believe me, turning 10 minutes of a John Prescott speech into intelligible English in under an hour takes some nerve even with a minimum shorthand speed of 180wpm (compulsory for all Official Reporters).
My former colleague, Hansard editor Lorraine Sutherland, said on Radio 4 this morning that her reporters need a lot of skill, stamina and judgement.