Magazine article The Spectator

Mind Your Language: Control

Magazine article The Spectator

Mind Your Language: Control

Article excerpt

In his speech on immigration last week, David Cameron said a couple of funny things. I'm not talking about the politics. Heaven forbid. I mean the language. Why did he call the City of London 'the financial epicentre of the world'? Epicentre means 'the point over the centre', and in seismology it is the place on the Earth's surface above the subterranean seat of an earthquake. So, unless he believes in an army of immigrant Morlocks slaving away beneath the City, I'd imagine Mr Cameron just meant centre . Epicentre sounds classier.

Then he spoke of worries about 'the scale of people coming into the country'. I doubt that he thinks them too tall or too short or badly proportioned. It is the scale of the immigration that's the trouble.

This may betray woolly thinking, but the language is presumably that of the speechwriter, and it is hard to iron out these wrinkles in a discussion by committee. As for the key word of the speech: 'It boils down,' said Mr Cameron, 'to one word: control.'

Control can muddle conversations. I remember a discussion on Today with a European official who insisted that British fishing vessels must be controlled. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.