Downing Street and the press are rarely a productive coupling, though it seems the PM’s spin team have, for once, inadvertently spawned something positive. Introducing his new book about journalistic cliché to the world at a star-studded occasion’ in ‘London’s glamorous West End’ this week, Bloomberg hack Rob Hutton told how No.10 had triggered him to write Romps, Tots and Boffins:
‘This book wouldn’t have happened at all, but for No 10’s inability to find a plane with room for journalists whenever the PM goes to controversial places. In the good old days, a trip to the Middle East would have meant a big plane, with the prime minister at the front honing his Fruit Ninja skills while the lobby sat at the back with the drinks trolley, discussing how best to sabotage the visit. But last November there was only room for two reporters on the plane, and the rest of us had to make our own way.’
Killing boredom in the airport, assorted hacks began compiling a list of words you only see in newspapers, and the rest they say is history. Not to be left out, I can reveal the Leader of the Opposition got in on the act too. Hutton writes:
‘On a tour of Scandinavia that I was covering, his aides explained the Journalese Project to him. He was sceptical at first, but as we gave him examples, he began to join in. When our plane landed with a disturbing thump, he turned to me and said: “Leader of the Opposition in Mid-Air Drama.”
His team’s only comment on a piece I wrote about him was on the headline: “Surely ‘woo’ is journalese?” an aide commented drily. On the third morning, Miliband came over at breakfast: “Your journalese game is obsessive. I woke up at 2am thinking ‘gainsay’.”‘
That must have made a nice change for Ed from playing with his Rubik’s Cube.
More Spectator for less. Subscribe and receive 12 issues delivered for just £12, with full web and app access. Join us.