Subscribe and get a free Oldie book


Strong and zzzzzzzzztable leadership

Regulars | By Johnny Grimond | July 2017

Political soundbites which fast become clichés in an election campaign that seems to go on for an eternity. Johnny Grimond in Words and Stuff.

If, as Harold Wilson said, a week is a long time in politics, an election campaign is an eternity. You might think that in a democracy the voters would relish the opportunity to learn the views of those seeking election, to scrutinise their policies and question them, or at least hear them questioned. The trouble is that modern life now consists of one long political campaign and politicians, encouraged by a tribe of hectoring journalists, believe they have to keep talking 24/7. Most have little of interest to say. They resort to soundbites, which quickly become clichés. Long ago George Orwell complained that ‘political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.’ That’s still true, but politicians are now guided in their mendacity by consultants and ad men who tell them to do nothing but repeat vacuous...

Buy a digital version of this issue for £2.99 now