Monday 4 January 2010

The Anti-Gobbledegook Popular Front

John Rentoul kindly supports Next Left's idea of a Steve Hilton Award for gobbledegook as "one whose time has come" and provides his own nomination.

My nomination for the award would be simply "progressive conservatism", on which I quote Phil Wilson MP for Sedgefield, in the debate on the Queen's Speech:

I checked the Oxford English Dictionary to get a definition for both words. It defined progressive as "favouring change and innovation". For conservative, it said, "averse to change or innovation".

Rentoul also notes that the profile of Cameron's image supremo Steve Hilton is bound to grow during this election year. In publicly revealing some internal tensions over the draft Tory manifesto, The Times this weekend rather unkindly suggests that the evidence from Hilton's 'modish but meaningless' strategy memos to Tory MPs suggests that The Thick of It caricature 'is far from grotesque'.

A number of Tory MPs - including from the frontbench - provided some amusingly irate background quotes, though one frontbench voice does slightly veer off piste in his 'angry middle' rant.

This guy clearly does not have anything better to do,’ he said. ‘What does he think we do? Does he think we sit on our hands waiting to read emails from a ten-year-old who has just discovered Conservatism, on a £200,000 salary in some farmhouse with a wife who works for Google?

However, Dave is undeterred.

Today's poster slogan "I'll cut the deficit, not the NHS" suggests we may need a special non-sequitur category of gobbledegook.

(Err, doesn't the deficit help to fund the NHS?)

Dizzy Thinks, blogging intelligently from the right, wasn't much impressed by the anti-centralisation and accountability contradictions of the health manifesto and speech either.

Spectator editor Fraser Nelson agrees that the Cameron new year's day speech was "vapid nonsense" - "if you have nothing to say, say nothing, should have been David Cameron's new year's resolution.

Perhaps the prospects of a broad Anti-Gobbledegook Popular Front are better than many had anticipated?

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