As health secretary Andrew Lansley stumbles through one of the most humiliating weeks of his career, at least his Cabinet colleague Caroline Spelman can boast her own little place in history as a result. The environment secretary is the first member of the coalition Cabinet to have become a verb … as in ‘Lansley’s just been Spelmaned’. This is not in the same league as saving the planet, I accept, but it is something for a minister who (take your pick) has seemed a touch out of her depth.
That the verb is born as a past participle stems from the fact that it was first used as a part participle when her forestry sell off proposals were put into the past tense before they had got anywhere near the unthought-out, unmandated future she had planned for them.
What with Spelman having been Spelmaned, and now Lansley having been Spelmaned, we can give David Cameron a word all of his own too, a noun this time, a political dance routine no less … ‘The Cameron (noun, a routine in which a Prime Minister performs the following moves – x issue really really matters to me … there are no plans to reform x issue … x issue is in urgent need of reform and without it x issue will die … these are the right reforms for the right time … apologies but my Secretary of State has made a right arse of this … let’s do a U-turn and see if I can salvage a bit of personal listening cred … Jeremy, can you let me see the reshuffle file again …’
Sadly, because The Cameron takes some time to execute, it means that the Spelmaned ministers have to endure scenes of pre-execution such as that endured by Lansley yesterday.
‘A Lansley … noun, Parliamentary pause, a rarely used device ordered by Prime Ministers when policies are in difficulty and ministers responsible are awaiting Spelmanisation … often used as in “doing a Lansley”, in which a difficult process will be temporarily parked under pressure.’
I suppose the entry into language of some of the characters of the government is a kind of coming of age, an understanding that whether we like them or not, we have to accept they are the government.
Clegg … verb, to promise one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards. Also used as a noun, a politician who moves from being universally adored to being universally despised in quick order.
Cleggisation … noun, the speedy process of a politician moving from being universally adored to being universally despised, leading to trending on twitter in hopelessly negative terms every time the Cleggised politician appears on TV.
Osborne … noun, a tactical manoeuvre in which politicians of one party use the Cleggisation of politicians of another to push through an ideological agenda for which they have no mandate.
Huhne … verb, to covet the positions of Cleggised and Spelmaned colleagues. Also used as adverb, huhnely, indicating an exaggerated view of one’s own appeal and competence whilst coveting positions of others.
Hague … noun, a private place where bosses share facilities with staff so as to spare the public purse at a time of severe deficit reduction.
Gove … verb, to build an entire policy upon unfortunate experiences at school. See also physical education, cold showers, Latin.
Willets … noun, an unfortunate affliction, sometimes defined as being too clever for one’s own good, allowing a ‘Two Brains’ nickname to blind one to the stupidity of statements about the history of women’s equality.
Cable … noun, a media honeypot trap in which Saints make credibility-sapping statements about media magnates.
Pickles … noun, situations Spelmaned ministers land themselves in. Also slang term for token working-class Northerner.
Warsi … noun, feminine, the killing of several birds with one stone when seeking to detoxify a brand.
Thoughts welcome for Mitchell, Paterson, Gillan, Alexander, the Scottish chap – is it Moore or Munro, I forget – Hunt, Maude, Letwin and any others that escape me.