Occasional reflections on Life, the World, and Mathematics


The UK government is now all hot on pushing through a “British Bill of Rights”, which bears the same relation to what one ordinarily thinks of as a “Bill of Rights” as “Soviet realism” bears to realism, or “French letters” to letters: The emphasis is definitely on the “British”, rather than on the “Rights”. The goal is to limit rights (by preventing appeals to any authority above the UK parliament), rather than to expand or guarantee them. Anyway, Dominic Grieve, the now suddenly former Attorney General, who was fired along with all other opponents of this approach within the government, referred to it as

legal car crash with a built-in time delay.

If there is a time delay, then is it really a “car crash”? I’m having trouble picturing how this works, purely automotively. Perhaps this particular colourful expression would be better reserved for something that has more of a sudden and unexpected quality. And perhaps there is some other tired expression that a politician could trot out for a dangerous — perhaps even explosive — situation with a built-in time-delay fuse… Oh, I’m sure it will come to me…

For German self-deconstructing political clichés see here.

Comments on: "More self-deconstructing clichés: Bill of Rights edition" (1)

  1. […] have commented before (here and here) on the weird linguistic phenomenon of clichés being modified to eliminate their actual meaning. […]

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