Thursday, 24 March 2011
All Motorists Now
Budget comment rolled in yesterday. PRs flattered people we’ve never heard of that somebody wanted to know what they thought. Emails tsunamied. Airwaves brimmed with rubbish. And you could tell where he was coming from when Jon Snow on Channel 4 News said “motorists”. Real people hardly ever say motorists. It’s like “bloated plutocrats” or “spivs”, loaded with innuendo, “gnomes of Zurich” and “idle rich”. The Today programme was at it too. Predictably. Motorists are posh people or “fat cats” driving “gas guzzlers”. It’s archaic, out of date. We are all middle class, we are all motorists. George Osborne’s fuel prices affect everybody, the District Nurse, the dairyman and the supermarket van driver. Yet Jon Snow kept challenging Danny Alexander as though motorists were a race apart, gaining privilege at others’ expense. Unfortunately the usually astute Alexander didn’t manage a riposte. TV presenters and smart radio commentators use words carelessly, like “poverty” and “hard-working families”, which silly politicians work into their own lexicon along with tiresome claims that they have “done the right thing”, when what they mean is “what I think was the right thing.” Bah, I say. Humbug.