In the UK we have three judges on the front pages, beneath some of the most extraordinary, incendiary, headlines. The government, meanwhile, issues a tardy and luke-warm statement of support for the independent judiciary, and does nothing to calm this manic trolling newspaper frenzy. What is happening to the rule of law?
One might say that the mad men have taken over the asylum, but the newspapers in question would probably claim someone nefarious was applying for it.
So my contribution will be lexagraphical and, with apologies to George Orwell and Newspeak, here’s an extract from the Demagogue’s Dictionary®.
‘Enemy’ – noun, meaning foe or adversary. ‘Enemies of the people’ meaning anyone who disagrees with the user (see Demagogue’s Handbook Item 3 ). Also, ‘An Enemy of the People‘ play by Henrik Ibsen about principles in public life. (N.B. Of no relevance to demagogues.)
‘Ally’ – noun, meaning foe or adversary – oops no, sorry, that’s just Michael Gove, or the Terrible Trio*, or the entire leadership of UKIP ( duck!) or much of the current Labour Party elite (sound of glass, breaking).
‘Brexit’ – compound noun, no exact meaning, open to wide interpretation, closest equivalent = ‘Brexit’.
‘Brexit Plus’ – noun, U.S. English, or ‘Brexit Plus Plus Plus’, no known meaning at all.
‘Experience’ – noun, unwanted or superfluous knowledge, skill or understanding, particularly in relation to scientists, professions, trade associations and unions. To be derided by demagogues and close cousin to ‘expert’ (see Handbook Item Five )
‘Fear’ – verb, to be afraid, emotional state, desirable in electorates so as making them easier to manipulate (see Handbook ).
Overwhelmingly’ – adjective, meaning slightly or marginally, a close result. Most recent example Tory MP on Newsnight ‘The British people have voted over-whelmingly for Brexit’.
‘Parliament’ – noun, forum of so-called representatives of the people subject to rules, unwanted scrutiny and accountability at the ballot box ( see ‘Red Tape’ below ). Useful as a nebulous concept, but to be avoided in practice. N.B. Though demagogues may find it useful to join, this is not obligatory, see Farage.
‘Plan’ – noun (archaic), a scheme, design or strategy denoting at the outset the means by which an objective is to be delivered. Undesirable. Specificity is the enemy of demagogues (see ‘Enemy’ above). If its existence is unavoidable, it is under no circumstances to be shared or opened to scrutiny.
‘Red Tape’ – commonly used two-word phrase to indicate anything which obstructs or delays what the demagogue wants.
‘Will’- noun, usefully flexible, meaning desire or opinion, common usage ‘the will of the people‘ – what ever the user wishes to claim.
‘Xenophobia’ – noun, from the Greek, therefore European, dubious and not wanted in Britain.
There may be more extracts from the Demagogue’s Dictionary in future. Meanwhile, in the US we have a new President. The result and what happens next deserves a blog all unto itself.
*Liam Fox, Boris Johnson (woof) and David Davies, the three sharp-elbowed Brexiter Ministers who cannot agree on anything.
Apologies to non-UK readers who may not have seen the current British PM referring, in the context of Boris Johnson’s latest contribution, to putting dogs down once they have reached the end of their useful life. This is what passes for political wit in the UK these days.