Our prime minister introduced this thrilling concept into PMQs just now, an entirely new sub-genre of the mainstream practice. What an exquisitely-tuned sensibility Eton produces in these matters.
He had been mocking Ed Balls, quoting his plan to be “tough on the deficit and tough on the causes of the deficit.” And as he was one of the main causes of the deficit, this was an example of “maso-sadism.”
Exactly how it differs from sado-masochism remained a tantalising mystery.
Labour erupted into a furious communion with itself and the House. What did he mean? What was this fascinating variation that only the elite have access to?
The Speaker attempted to calm his constituency. “We all know what he meant,” he said in a world-weary way. But it was unlikely he did know. Maso-sadism is strictly a Pop, P2, Order of the Garter sort of secret from which the Speaker will always be excluded (hence his loathing).
Perhaps realising he had given away more than he should, Cameron corrected himself. (That’s level one in M-S.) He laughed it off. He meant ordinary masochism. “I always said he could dish it put but he couldn’t take it. But I think he likes to take it as well.”