different planet

Michael Quinion wordseditor at WORLDWIDEWORDS.ORG
Wed Apr 21 08:51:34 UTC 2010

> It's not just British politics that's hard to follow sometimes--it's
> also the writing about British politics
> http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/apr/21/rat-on-a-sinking-ship
> > Nestyn, Tuesday. Little Nathaniel Clore? As in, "Hi guys, I'm Nat from
> > the Lib Dems, great yeah - is it just me or are the the other two just so
> > over?" As in, the little geek who used to deliver our papers - when he
> > wasn't away at St Posh's academy, ordering fag major to roast fag minor
> > over matron's log fire? The only consolation, when I see streets suddenly
> > lined with posters of little Lord Fauntleroy in his smug off-duty
> > barrister's yellow polo shirt, is that I'm not the only one who never
> > spotted Nestyn's boy wonder smarming up out of nowhere. Even Rowe-Dent's
> > suddenly feeling her age, dehyphenating her operation - "Hey there, Pippa
> > Dent is on Twitter!" - and trying to explain the big society (all yours,
> > darling), instead of relying on Ashcroft-funded botox and wicked Ron's
> > gazebo to sweep her into power.

I suspect most British people would have trouble with bits of that. It's a
satirical column about a fictional Labour candidate in the current general
election (Nestyn is not a real place). But dehyphenation, to pull one term
at random, is a minor but real trend, as one Conservative candidate at
least with a double-barrelled name (the Pippa Rowe-Dent of the piece) has
shortened it so as not to appear so upper class. "Big Society" is a
campaign slogan of the Conservatives. The diatribe on Nathaniel Clore is a
response to the big surge in Liberal Democrat support following the first
leaders' debate last week.

Michael Quinion
Editor, World Wide Words
Web: http://www.worldwidewords.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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