I wondered if this was a joke news story, but then discovered that David Cameron actually told the shadow chief secretary, Angela Eagle, to "calm down, dear" at prime minister's questions.
Apparently, according to Cameron, a reference to the Michael Winner advertising campaign, therefore all the more reason in my humble opinion for the outcry! One of the most annoying advertising campaigns I have ever had the misfortune to stumble across, an exception being the Lelli-Kelly adverts. They make my ears bleed!
Anyway going back to the story. David Cameron really used this phrase to an adult female at PM Questions!
My husband only ever calls me dear as a wind up, he knows that the only 'pet name' to make me see red is that one! The only person who would get away with calling me "dear" would be a lady many many years my senior, and then I would smile through gritted teeth!
There now I am being condescending as well.