Here is a nice example of the revealing ‘ah’ by backbench MPs in support of Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs. A revealing ‘ah’ is a comment made by a few members of the chamber in order to back up and support some revealing fact that the current speaker is delivering. The comment is purposively mocking in order to add emphasis to the face-threatening nature of the revelation.
The revealing ‘ah’ can be heard on three occasions at line 09, 16 and 18 in the following transcript as Jeremy Corbyn (JC) questions the Prime Minister.
01 JC: the leader said they’d had 02 many conversation with the government 03 we know they have 04 because I’ve been leaked copies of texts 05 sent by the Tory leader David Hodge 06 intended for somebody called Nick 07 who works for ministers in 08 the department of communities and local government 09 Chamber: aahh ((revealing ah)) 10 JC: and these texts read 11 I’m advised that DCLG officials 12 have been working on a solution 13 and it wi- 14 you will be contacting me 15 to agree a memorandum of understanding 16 Chamber: aaaahhh ((revealing ah)) 17 JC: will the government 18 Chamber: aaahhh aaahhhh ((revealing ah & some laughter)) 19 JC: will the government now (.) publish 20 this memorandum of understanding 21 and (.) while they’re about it 22 will all councils be offered the same deal 23 Chamber: ((shouts of agreement))
It is likely that some Labour MPs were forewarned of the Corbyn revelation and they time their revealing ‘ah’ to coincide with his delivery. In the first instance, the revealing ‘ah’ is held back till line 09 when it would plausibly occur earlier at line 04 or 05 if there had been no warning. It occurs again in line 16 but with more emphasis, and then achieves pantomime proportions in line 18 as Labour members seem to delight in mocking the Prime Minister and revel in the leak of texts.
PMQs 8th February 2017