There was something odd about Obama’s ‘back of the queue’ Brexit comment yesterday — and it wasn’t just that he felt he could dictate US trade policy for a time when he wouldn’t even be in power. The thing that struck Mr S was the phrasing of his message:
‘I think it’s fair to say that maybe some point down the line there might be a UK-US trade agreement, but it’s not going to happen any time soon because our focus is in negotiating with a big bloc—the European Union—to get a trade agreement done. And the UK is going to be at the back of the queue.’
As Nigel Farage has since pointed out while raising doubts about the authenticity of Obama’s comments, Americans rarely use the word queue. Rather than ‘back of the queue’, they would say ‘end of the line’.
While the term has led many to think that Cameron may have told Obama what to say, there could be another reason for the American’s use of the word. An article in the American journal New Republic in 2014 stated that a number of Americans were beginning to use the word ‘queue’:
‘Not so long ago, the word “queue” would have sounded out of place outside the tech world or the United Kingdom, but it seems to be cropping up more and more in an American context.’
This is put down to the rise of Netflix. The streaming company allows users to watch movies and television, which are then added to a ‘queue’.
So, have No.10 been putting words into the president’s mouth — or is it just that he has been watching too much Netflix?