Modest threat

In the middle of all the column inches devoted to the Hutton report, Nick Clegg comes up with, gosh, A Modest Proposal. Along with the title he uses the phrase in the article too, just in case you missed it. And, well, what do you know (it took me by surprise)? It isn’t modest at all.

Private Eye did a quick review of this sort of clichéd journalistic laziness, a while back now. They compared the different appropriations of the opening line of Pride and Prejudice by columnists and feature writers. As with the now-regular Neophiles column, the truths universally acknowledged were lined up side by side like nearly identical matchsticks, and by their repetitiveness showed that the one wave of culture that has lapped against these rent-a-wordsmiths, over the years of their upper-middle class education, clearly left a permanent stain.

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