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Violent metaphors in politics are nothing new

28 October 2018

9:16 AM

28 October 2018

9:16 AM

There is much shock professed about the metaphors used to describe Mrs May’s political plight — talk of the ‘killing zone’, or her being stabbed, and worse. I feel this shock myself, but in fact such metaphors are routine in politics and almost always have been. Think, for example, of Harold Macmillan’s ‘Night of the Long Knives’ — arguably more tasteless, since it compared a cabinet reshuffle with a Nazi murder spree.

The real reason it seems shocking in this case surely, as it did when John McDonnell favourably invoked people who wanted to lynch Esther McVey, is that it is men speaking about a woman. On this, old-fashioned chivalry and modern feminism agree.

This article is an extract from Charles Moore’s Spectator notes, which appears in this week’s magazine.  

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