Wednesday 1 September 2010

Musings in a higher verblessness!!!

Whatever its political achievements and failures, New Labour can not take pride in its impact on the English language. Following New Labour's almost genocidal verblessness, Tony Blair's memoirs now appear to be making the most sustained post-teenage attempt yet to elevate the exclamation mark as the highest form of punctuation!!!!

Whatever our political disagreements about the Blair legacy, a very broad coalition should be able to unite against that.

Blair is proud to have written the book himself, not relying on ghost-writers. Jim Pickard of the FT Westminster blog is perhaps harshest about the Blair style, in claiming that "makes Mandelson seem like Dave Eggers or Len Deighton at peak of their powers". Pickard offers several examples, though he does not include the oddest sentence I have seen in the extracts, where Blair writes of Princess Diana that "Whatever New Labour had in part, she had in whole". (Whatever that is, as Prince Charles might have responded).

There is also some amusement at TB's musings on Mandela and Gandhi.

I heard an interesting example of this once from, of all people, Nelson Mandela. Mandela - or Madiba as he is also called (his clan name) - is a fascinating study, not because he’s a saint but because he isn’t. Or rather he is, but not in the sense that he can’t be as fly as hell when the occasion demands. I bet Gandhi was the same.

In Blair's defence, let us note that he is surely right about Gandhi.

Though George Orwell - "Saints should always be judged guilty until they are proved innocent" - may have put it rather better. (Reflections on Gandhi)

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