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Thursday, 28 July 2011

David Cameron and the verb "to bicycle"

I cannot contain my delight at David Cameron's having used the verb "to bicycle". The Prime Minister told the Standard: "If my protection team let me bicycle, I'd happily bicycle." This is in contrast to "to cycle", and follows his having said recently, in relation to phone hacking, "I think everyone in this House [of Commons] and indeed this country will be revolted by what they have heard and what they have seen on their television screens." For the first time in some decades, we have a British Prime Minister who speaks English - with verbs, and everything. Goodbye, "the principle of subsidiarity". Farewell, "endogenous growth theory". Shut the door on the way out, "a pretty straight sort of guy". Hooray.


  1. It's not a natural turn of phrase, though. Jo Swinson used the phrase freaked out in a tv interview better - it came over as an ordinary conversation and not a political tirade.

    Also, using plainer English isn't everything. Cameron still holds some deeply umpleasant views about benefit claimants, immigrants and Europe, regardless of how he expresses himself.

  2. Thanks, Caron. It's not so much that it's plain English as that it's gloriously old-fashioned English. I cannot explain why such old-fashioned usage appeals to me; it just does.

    Incidentally, I don't think that Mr Cameron (or the Conservative Party) holds deeply unpleasant views about benefit claimants, immigrants and Europe. I think that's a distortion of where Mr Cameron and the Conservatives stand. As a Liberal Democrat, I am not in agreement with the policies of the Conservative Party, but I don't find them "deeply unpleasant".

    If centre-right Conservatives like Mr Cameron and his party are "deeply unpleasant", then what is the BNP - "very deeply unpleasant"?

  3. 'Incidentally, I don't think that Mr Cameron (or the Conservative Party) holds deeply unpleasant views about benefit claimants, immigrants and Europe. I think that's a distortion of where Mr Cameron and the Conservatives stand'.

    So where do they stand on those issues? And more importantly, where do the Lib Dems stand (on anything) just so we don't get duped into voting for them next time around?

  4. Thank you, Luke.

    The Coalition Agreement sets out where the Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition Government stands on these issues and more:

    Independent research - - shows that 75% of the pledges in the Liberal Democrat General Election manifesto are now being implemented by the Coalition Government, compared to 60% of the pledges in the Conservative General Election manifesto.

    In other words, despite being the junior partner in the coalition, with only 57 MPs, we are delivering on three quarters of the things that we pledged to do. Elect us to govern on our own rather than in coalition, and we'll aim to make that 100%.

    Here are the Conservatives' policies:

    Here are the Liberal Democrats' policies:

    The best summary of what we stand for is here:

    You might also be amused by:

  5. is the link I meant to post re:- independent research.

  6. Thank you Matthew. I haven't read all your links. Yet.

    As the UK government has recognised the Libyan 'rebels' as the legitimate 'Government' in Libya will the UK Government extend the same right to Palestine?

    'We will push for peace in the Middle East, with a secure and universally recognised Israel living alongside a sovereign and viable Palestinian state'.

  7. That is a very good question. Like everyone else, I shall be interested to see what the UK Government decides to do with regard to a UN vote on a unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood, should such a vote take place. I hope that there is no such vote - I would much prefer to see a return to negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Our ambassador o Israel has commented on this and I blogged on it at:

  8. His facility with meanings was starkly advocated by the tory journalist Jeff Randall some years back:

    He never knowingly told the truth when dissemblance was a viable alternative

    Plus ca change

  9. The omen for using the verb "to bicycle" is not good: John Major spoke of english midwives or somesuch bicycling home for tea The ultimate LibDem policy of cone hotline followed soonish

    Cameron's facility with the practicality of bicycles was poor: he looped the security chain of his over a bollard and then the tory media blamed Red Ken for its "disappearance"

    When Mr Chameleon first ascended to his station he was given to rubishing his wiser security folk as Lord Toby Harris pointed out on his blog Best he continues to listen

    After all Osborne is Tory party members' favourite to succeed and it has long been my expectation that MI6 will put paid to that Prime Ministerial ambition speedily should it be close to fruition

  10. Right...Without getting into the conspiratorial and bloodcurdling aspects of your comments, I'll say that, what John Major actually said was:

    "Fifty years on from now, Britain will still be the country of long shadows on cricket grounds, warm beer, invincible green suburbs, dog lovers and pools fillers and, as George Orwell said, 'Old maids bicycling to holy communion through the morning mist' and, if we get our way, Shakespeare will still be read even in school."

    So he was actually quoting George Orwell, as it happens.