No 10’s alternative vocabulary created
Dear Sir, — Among this week’s news we find that the “Land of Alternative Truths”, once known as Downing Street, has been establishing its own alternative vocabulary to be henceforth used by its ministers, underlings, special advisers and civil servants. A diktat was distributed through the foreign office to this effect.
So, despite the word Brexit being about one in three of all words emanating from the prime minister’s mouth for what seems like an eternity, the word must never again be mentioned lest Joe Public gets an impression that the issue hasn’t already been “done”.
So ignore the fact there are about 10 months of negotiation still to take place before anybody knows just how good, or more likely bad, the terms of our exit will be.
Similarly there must be no use of phrases “no deal” or “hard Brexit” but instead the term used must be “a trading relationship like Australia” — ie no agreement at all really.
The one thing we can be sure of is that whatever deal or no deal does fall out by the end of 2020, those in No 10 will describe it as probably the best deal ever known to man. No doubt the official vocabulary will expand with ever more inventive ways to describe its brilliance, or to “polish a turd”, to borrow one of his own front bench crony’s expressions.
Actually that’s a thought, I wonder if a new name will be designated for Rees-Mogg so that he can be quietly introduced back into the public consciousness — I could suggest a few, but the resemblance to “Lord Snooty” has always been striking. Other examples of the newly censored language include:
No saying “implementation period” or use of words like “partnership” or “level playing field”.
“Ambitious”, “unique”, “deep” are also forbidden ways of describing the intended agreement, as is “anything else that can be taken to mean anything other than a typical trade agreement of the Canada type”.
“Do not give the impression that we are seeking a unique or novel agreement. Stress that we are looking for a deal based on EU precedent” is another of the Diktats.
You know I’m sure I can remember phrases, almost identical to the banned ones above, being used by Mr Johnson to describe the fantastic custom-built deal he promised that he alone could deliver.
Presumably “cake and eat it” is also off-limits but I can’t confirm that.
Earlier in the week we saw further beginnings of his Trump-style manipulation of the media.
There was to be a “lobby briefing” of journalists at No 10 by a leading civil servant to lay out to them the basis for the negotiations with the EU about the terms of our Brexit (damn I just said it again).
The use of Downing Street as a venue had already been objected to by the journalist community, as for smaller media organisations it makes their attendance away from Westminster difficult. All such briefings in the past had been carried out within the Palace of Westminster.
Having arrived at No 10, the journalists were identified and separated into two groups, one group invited inside, the other told to leave. So the intent was to brief the “friendly” Press, but not those who would be likely to criticise. Showing a remarkable and admirable sense of principle, all the journalists left.
Next in the prime minister’s sights is the BBC of course. Under the guise of a consultation on the role of the license fee and its future funding, the plan cooked up by Cummings-Johnson is really to emasculate the corporation as an independent and unbiased commentator.
The BBC is one of the nation’s assets that is almost universally (not in the current White House of course) admired and respected as a beacon of quality and objectivity. If you don’t believe me, ask anybody you know who lives in other countries. But to politicians of a certain cast, who wish no opposition or scrutiny, any comment that isn’t at least compliant needs to be excluded.
The BBC does get some things wrong, like vastly overpaying its (particularly male) presenters, but in general it does much to be admired. We lose its integrity at our peril.
Johnson axed Clare O’Neill from her role as chairman for the forthcoming COP26 climate summit about a week ago.
As yet he has appointed no one else, having tried and been rejected by his “keep-it-in-the-party” Oxbridge chums Cameron, Hague and Goldsmith.
One might have thought the topic was bigger than party politics and he could look a bit more broadly — Caroline Lucas as the only Green MP would be a thought.
The “Torygraph” this weekend tells us that the Cabinet reshuffle is expected to axe all but two or three females from the pack — in future all jobs to be given purely “on merit”.
Presumable owning male genitalia would be a clear indicator of said merit?
The reader may be forming an impression that Boris/mini-Trump Johnson isn’t really my cup of tea. That would be correct.
Aside from an opinion that his only interests and motivation are in his own aggrandisement and stoking his already over-inflated ego, the observable fact is that truth, honesty and Boris Johnson are only very occasional bedfellows.
Rather like with Jennifer Arcuri, any flirtation is one of passing convenience, there is no meaningful or lasting relationship.
Talking of Ms Arcuri, whatever happened to that case of BJ’s misbehaviour in a public office with regard to promoting her interests within trade delegations of which she had no rightful place?
It seems that Nicky Morgan was responsible for quietly squashing and burying that one.
That would be the Nicky Morgan who left the Government last year in disgust and stating a desire to spend more time with her family away from politics.
I wonder if there’s any connection between the Arcuri case and her surprise ennoblement to the Lords and then reappointment back as culture secretary? What about the publication of the report into the findings of Russian interference in our electoral processes that his own minister, Dominic Grieve, believed to be important to make known to the electorate prior to the election?
I wonder who buried that one and where? — Yours faithfully,