One of the pleasures of running web sites and blogs is that you get to see what search terms people have used which found your site. Mostly they are what you expect relative to what you write about – rubbish oxford council or incompetent highways officers will usually find something by me on the first results page, for example.
I was a bit taken aback, however, to find that one of my posts had been found by a search for caroline flint teeth. The mystery was at two levels – what page of mine said anything about Caroline Flint’s teeth? And why was anyone searching for this?
Caroline Flint is the Public Health Minister, architect of the smoking ban, “sexiest MP” (according to a poll on Radio Five Live) and a nominee for spiked-online’s Miserabilist of the Year award with the citation ‘For sheer saucer-eyed idiocy and patronising puritanism, this mumsy miserabilist deserves a special mention’.
The easy bit was finding out why my site was found by the search. My Oxford Agenda post The Smoking Ban and Goodthinking refers to “the web page of a dull, middle-aged Labour MP of whom I have never heard from some dull Midlands constituency. He is photographed pressed up against the attractive Ms Flint, whose teeth are bared in that rather threatening way which self-publicists confuse with a smile. ”
But why was anyone looking for this conjunction of the Minister for Fitness and teeth? Was it some horsy analogy connected with the old proverb about looking gift horses in the mouth – their teeth betray their true age apparently. Perhaps the searcher could not quite believe that someone could claim to be only 46 yet behave like one of those grim old nannies blown away by Mary Poppins. That doesn’t explain why they thought Google would help.
Perhaps it was an old MP who finds a strange sexual allure in big teeth. Personally I think the only place for Caroline Flint’s teeth is behind a gag, but perhaps if I were a bit older – 65 say – I might find something alluring about her. She would have to keep the gag on though, whatever else came off.
I don’t think women like Caroline Flint do sex though – pure pleasure is ipso facto unacceptable and all that unhygienic bodily contact quite disgusting to contemplate. Others obviously disagree –”She’s hot to trot and can help me with my fitness regime any time” says one commentator on Carlin and Isaby’s Telegraph page on the subject. The same page celebrates Ms Flint’s charms in verse:
“There once was an MP called Flint
Who was voted the sexiest bint
Though it has to be said
As politically red
Of a brain we haven’t a hint”
On balance, I don’t think that sex was what my searcher had in mind.
A few more searches of my own reveal the answer, I think. One of Caroline Flint’s responsibilities is NHS dentists. Whilst she witters on in her patronising way about how we should clean our teeth, and doesn’t merely condemn but actually bans public smoking, she is responsible for the fact that you cannot find an NHS dentist in most parts of the country.
She lies about it (through her teeth, of course) as New Labour ministers do about everything. Put more politely than she deserves, her pronouncements about the availability of NHS dental care do not square with the observations of anyone who actually tries to find one.
At least I now know why someone was looking for caroline flint teeth.