Centrist Dad

Centrist Dad

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Updated Jul 21, 2020 at 08:53AM EDT by shevyrolet.

Added Oct 04, 2017 at 10:37AM EDT by Adam.

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Centrist Dad is a derogatory slang term for older, predominantly male
Twitter users, particularly in England, who ascribe to centrist and neoliberal beliefs and condescend to leftists as being unrealistic.


While the exact moment "Centrist Dad" went from being a descriptor to a slang term is unclear, one of the earliest known tweets to use "Centrist Dads" as a trope was posted April 4th, 2017 by Twitter user @daniel_orton[1] (shown below).

Dan @daniel_orton Follow Replying to @judeinlondon Really tired of Centrist Dad types lecturing people about what is and isn't antisemitism l'm Jewish, let me decide, eh? 9:05 AM -4 Apr 2017


Over the following months, "Centrist Dad" became a more common pejorative for centrist liberals, particularly those opposed to the rise of leftist Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour Party. One of the major proprietors in spreading the term appears to be Guardian columnist Dawn Foster. On August 11th, she created a Twitter poll that asked "Are you a Centrist Dad?"[2] The poll gained 792 votes (shown below). She was also interviewed in a piece on inews.co.uk[3] in which she explained that:

“It’s a term used to describe certain behaviour I’ve seen a lot more of since the EU referendum and especially the election… I found it a handy term, as lots of middle-aged men were endlessly in my mentions explaining that centrism was ‘grown up’ and ‘sensible’.”

Dawn Foster @DawnHFoster Follow ) Are you a Centrist Dad 22% Yes 78% No 792 votes Final results 6:12 PM -11 Aug 2017

Another prominent pusher of the Centrist Dad pejorative is Matt Zarb-Cousin, a former Corbyn spokesperson, who is quoted in several articles explaining his definition of the term:

(Centrist Dads are) middle-aged men who cannot come to terms with the world, and politics, changing. They are having the equivalent of a political mid-life crisis, lashing out at primarily young people on the left that, based on the most recent general election, appear better able to understand the concept.”

The term became much more popular after it began receiving media attention. It was first covered by The Guardian[4] on September 23rd, 2017, as part of a piece on new political slang after Kim Jong Un called Donald Trump a dotard. The term became particularly popular on Twitter after the BBC[5] covered it on September 28th. After that, several other news outlets picked up on the term, including Vice,[6] Esquire,[7] and more. Meanwhile, on Twitter, tweets joking about Centrist Dads began growing much more popular after the BBC article appeared. Twitter user @cinemashoebox[8] posted a tweet on the 28th using the term, gaining over 150 retweets (shown below, left). The same day, Zarb-Cousin[9] tweeted about the term too, gaining over 70 retweets and 460 likes.

Ben B Follow @cinemashoebox My literal centrist dad voted Tory in south London "to stop the SNP", which I think is one for the all time centrist dad Hall of Fame 2:58 PM - 28 Sep 2017 易 Matt Zarb-Cousin . @mattzarb Follow Really pleased that "centrist dad" has entered into the common lexicon and boiled a load of piss in the process. Left's cultural hegemony 6:41 AM - 28 Sep 2017

Various Examples

Brendon Hope @BrendonHope Follow If you say Centrist Dad three times in front of a mirror Tony Blair appears and invades Iraq. 10:17 AM - 28 Sep 2017 Duncan @ketaminedrams Follow Centrist dad is just gentrification of yer da 3:11 PM - 28 Sep 2017 Richard Osman @richardosman Follow I know that it doesn't add to the political debate, but 'Centrist Dad' would be a good crossword clue for 'a'. 12:28 PM-28 Sep 2017 Jack Staples-Butler @jstaplesbutler Follow Centrist Dad: Takes child to feed the ducks. Tory dad: Takes child duck-shooting Socialist dad: Takes child to "Solidarity with Ducks" rally 11:17 AM - 29 Sep 2017 Tom Chivers @TomChivers Follow oh god, I have a "Centrist Dad to tune of Postman Pat" earworm. "Centrist Dad, Centrist Dad, these things aren't just black- and-white lad" 11:51 AM - 28 Sep 2017 la chica absoluta @babefeatures Follow Centrist dads trying to reclaim "centrist dad" & make it cool is one of the most sincerely depressing things I've seen on this website 7:43 PM-28 Sep 2017

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