Samuel Johnson, eat your heart out. Here is an all-new political dictionary. What would Sam have made of Milifandom? And would he know when a kitchen is not a kitchen? And why is now backstabbing right up there with murder?
Below is my latest tranche of words for my GE2015 Dictionary and, below that, is the entre dictionary to date. It is, as is the election, a work in progress. If you think of any new words to include, email or tweet me @anntreneman
NEW WORDS for GE2015 Dictionary
Big beasts: Refers to has-beens who once actually were something (i.e. Prime Ministers). Specifically Sir John Major and Gordon Brown. At times, Paddy Ashdown too. Confusingly, “big beasts” are often “wheeled out”, inferring infirmity.
Confidence and supply: Fancy name for two parties who decide it suits them to vote together most of the time without actually being in coalition. A bit like when people are dating steadily but refuse to commit.
Milifandom – Bizarre adoration by “young people” (see “young people”) of Ed Miliband, involving selfies, whistles, catcalls and tweets. Possibly a result of lack of shirts on Poldark or, just, spring.(See Twitter Storm.)
Reem: Word introduced to campaign by Joey Essex, reality TV star making a reality TV programme about himself and the reality TV election. Everyone he met has been “reem” – basically “brilliant, good, cool, fashionable”.
SNP Surge: Actually more of a tidal wave or tsunami which, when it hits Scotland, on May 7, will turn most of the country tartan.
Twitter Storm: Intermittent social media weather pattern where, suddenly, everyone (i.e. at least five people you know) start tweeting about the same phenomenon. Hashtag essential.(See Milifandom)
Ultra-marginal: Like a marginal but more so. Basically, and I’ve made this up but that doesn’t mean it’s not true, it’s a seat where the vote difference is counted in hundreds not thousands. And, if you get into tens, it’s an ultra-ultra marginal.
Vote by Vote: Utilitarian name for two parties whom it suits to vote together most of the time but who are not committed to each other in any way. Think casual dating. Precarious. They could easily dump each other by text.
Young people – What politicians call anyone from ages 15 to 30. If spotted, and you are a “young people”, be prepared for this question: “So what do you want to be when you grow up?”
Ann Treneman’s GE2015 Dictionary
Actual Voters – Desperate attempt by politicians and headline writers to separate between voters and everyone else (i.e. “ordinary people”, hard-working families and, of course, all time fave: “real people”.)
Backstabbing: Something you do when you take on a sibling in any endeavour at all and, which, psychologically, means that you are unstable and likely to be hung for treason. Defiintion courtesy of Defence Secretary Michael Fallon. (Ignore all previous definitions.)
Brain freeze: Random stun device that infected Green leader Natalie Bennett on the radio and made it seem as if she didn’t know her own housing policy (no one really blamed her)
Coalition government: A formal arrangement between political parties, now sadly dated and sooooo 2010. Will not happen again in our lifetime as seen as electoral death. (See confidence and supply and vote by vote)
Cost of Living crisis: What real people call going shopping and paying the bills
Debate: Means nothing more now than a place where politicians gather on TV.
Decapitation: A strategy to behead, politically, a candidate. (Not to be confused with guillotine, that was the French). Something Lib-Dems seem particularly prone to.
Doorstep: A location of misery for marginal constituency dwellers
Empty chair: Verb. What everyone threated to do to David Cameron as in: “They may empty-chair him”. (Candidate for ugliest verb in the world)
First past the post: Our voting system, blamed for almost everything.
Green Surge: It may sound like a snot-filled horror movie or, indeed, a stain remover but instead it denotes the rush to join the Green party (See SNP Surge)
Grand National: Animal cruelty in action which will be tackled by the Green Party as part of the great progressive future
Hard-working families: Confusingly this includes all voters, even the lazy and feckless ones
Kippers: Members of UKIP or the United Kingdom Independence Party (no longer, apparently, to be confused with “fruitcakes”).
Kitchen tables: Where politicians think we all sit when we talk politics (not to be confused with ‘kitchens’)
Kitchens: Where politicians chop vegetables and drink tea with broadcast journalists (not to be confused with “Snack preparation areas”).
La Sturgeon: Unusually nothing to do with kitchens. It’s SNP leader Nicola, not to be confused with former SNP leader Salmond. (It’s a piscatorial election in Scotland.)
Liberal-Democrats: The junior partners in the coalition government (RIP 2010-2015) who are paying the price by losing shedloads of votes. They may soon be “niche” and not in a good way.
Long-term economic plan: The Tories’ copyrighted slogan for their economic policy
Majority government: A party or parties with a working (as opposed to feckless) majority (i.e. 326 MPs).
Marginal: A constituency with fickle voters who keep changing their minds, mostly located in the Midlands, London and the South-West OR anywhere in Scotland. Hard to find an actual definition but less than a 10 per cent swing is fine for me (See “swing”).
Minority government: Chaos
Ordinary people: One of the terms that politicians use (enviously) to describe all of the rest of us. (Do they not realise that we are extraordinary?)
People at home: Favourite idea of politicians that “people at home” are listening or watching, as in: “People listening at home will be shocked…” or “People at home watching will be appalled….” No, we aren’t: we’re making a cup of tea.
Peradventure – “Let’s be clear beyond peradventure” said Harriet Harman on the Andrew Marr show on 12.04.2015. Are we in a Jane Austen novel? Oh I do hope so. Actually surely Peradventure is the perfect name for a Jane Austen theme park.
Pink: The colour of the Labour’s Woman To Woman bus that is going round the country (not to be confused with “magenta”). Was accused of looking like an advert for thrush products
Psephologists – political science by numbers or, more commonly, pollsters.
Real people: How politicians refer to us as in: “Real people will not think it wise to use the word ‘peradventure’….
Snack preparation area: A small kitchen, usually on the ground floor, specifically in Ed Miliband’s ground floor, where you never actually eat anything.
Swing – nothing to do with sex, sadly, but the percentage of votes switching from one party to another in a poll
Verbification – The strange practice of turning perfectly good nouns into verbs. (See “empty-chair”)
Wisdom Index: A fall-back position for pollsters where they get “ordinary people” to tell them who they think will win, as opposed to who they are going to vote for (with thanks to Professor Tim Bale of Queen Mary University….)
Women – XX chromosome carriers who often make up their minds later than men and become a source of consternation to pollsters
Do you have another word candidate to be included in my Vote Dictionary 2015? If so, please email me or tweet me at @anntreneman
For more advice on how to survive the General Election, see my piece in The Times at: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/politics/article4402991.ece