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Samizdata quote of the day

This is not so much a realignment in British politics as the corrosion of the old alignments, the scrubbing out of the old dividing lines. May is making hay out of Labour’s demise, and her decision to champion Brexit – to attach herself, albeit opportunistically, to the democratic cry of the 17.4million – has boosted her stock. But the technocratic May is still living on borrowed time, time that is being extended by a weak and conflicted opposition that lacks the courage to neither thwart nor champion Brexit. A Tory landslide in June will mark both an extension of the public’s determination for Brexit, and a recognition of Labour’s disarray – not a rejuvenation of Toryism.

Tom Slater

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21 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • TL/DR – Labour is dying, Yay!

  • Mr Ecks

    May is playing Dress-Up as Thatcher 2 and using Brexit to boost herself.

    That aside she is thick (oh she has the same self-serving animal cunning that most poli-shite do but she is still dim) and is cut from the same well-off, middle/upper class, cultural Marxist, London Bubble mould as Camoron before her.

  • Chester Draws

    Every politician lives on borrowed time. No political message is eternal. (If your politics suffers no change, then really you have a religion, not a political conviction.)

    I don’t quite get the whole “technocratic” thing sent her way either. She isn’t a career politician, having had real jobs and only entering politics at 40. If you mean that she is not the crusading sort, valuing effectiveness over political dogma, then most of us actually think that’s a good thing. Rather her sort than the values-over-effectiveness of Zac Goldsmith or the like.

  • lacks the courage to neither thwart nor champion Brexit

    Some typos are easy to spot. Others leave you wondering: was that a typo – did he mean to write “to either thwart or champion Brexit”? Or did he indeed mean that Labour are too scared to refrain from opposing Brexit and simultaneously too scared to refrain from supporting it?

    At least I can convict the quotee of a split infinitive beyond reasonable doubt. If he had carefully avoided splitting his infinitive, I would have trusted he was also careful enough to write exactly what he meant. But as it is, whether he thinks Labour too cowardly either to thwart or to champion Brexit, or too cowardly to refrain from doing both at once, must remain debatable.

    It is to Britain’s advantage that Brexit’s tow-year process occur while the opposition is neither whole-heartedly hostile to it nor effective. And until May has a similar turn-around on the issue of free speech, I will gladly believe – but be cautious about believing – that the political circumstances strengthen the still-too-silenced public rather than the still-too-PC Tories.

  • Derek Buxton

    I must admit that I fear for Mrs May, she was a “remainer” and I am beginning to wonder if that idea still motivates her. A viable plan seems to be missing which allows the EU to dictate what happens next. Her advisers are all bureaucrats, thriving in the bureaucratic EU and want to keep it going.

  • John B

    Why is it supposed that a political Party must last forever? Liberal Party did not.

    In business many companies go extinct, Kodak for example, because of changes that have taken place which mean it no longer provides what modern times need.

    Labour thinks Britain is a Dicken’s novel, but everything has moved on – Labour’s time is gone.

  • djc

    Old Labour were forever living in the 1930s, New Labour moved on a bit — circa 1950, now, as I have long expected, we have New Old-Labour and reached the 1970s.

    As for Conservatives, there will always be a place for a conservative party, that is a party for keeping things much as they are. In normal circumstances most people will judge that change is as like, all things considered, to not necessarily be to their advantage. Better the devil you know. The problem being that ‘things as they are’ now includes an unsustainably large element of statism.

  • Patrick Crozier

    “At least I can convict the quotee of a split infinitive beyond reasonable doubt.”

    Er, no you can’t. There is nothing wrong with a split infinitive.

  • Laird

    Niall, with respect to you comment about Slater’s curious use of “neither/nor”: I think you’re giving him too much credit. I suspect this is simply another case of incomplete education. He is aware that “nor” is properly coupled with “neither” but doesn’t understand how to use those words correctly. This is undoubtedly the same sort of person who misuses “whom” in a misguided attempt to appear educated, and who reflexively uses “I” where “me” would be proper.

    As to the split infinitive, Patrick is certainly correct, but personally I try to avoid them where possible. Just as I try to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition; neither is strictly improper, but both are frequently awkward. But notice that I am partial to sentence fragments!

  • Laird

    Heh: “Patrick is certainly correct.” Split infinitive! Those rascals sneak in everywhere when you’re not paying attention!

  • Julie near Chicago

    “To split or not to split: That is the question.”

    Two topics with one blow!

    .

    Visited by the ghost of Mr Eliot, I choose to split and not to split.

  • Patrick, Laird, I’m assuming Tom Slater is British, and therefore a split infinitive is mildly diagnostic of slapdash rather than subtle prose. I agree that in a US writer it would not be diagnostic.

    Julie, whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous Eurocrats or by opposing end them was never much of a question in my mind. 🙂

  • When Julie said, “To split or not to split”, I got up to see the actress playing Gertrude. 😉

  • Julie near Chicago

    Niall, once again I gots to admit you got a point there!

    Speaking of taking up arms against a sea of troubles, how about you take a quick walk across the pond and explain to our Mr. Dan Harmon in the Illinois Legislature (who loudly proclaims himself Progressive) why he is a jerk-off (another of the words that I, innocent fragile flower, of course do not understand) whose body I would be happy to use instead of the usual silhouette on the range.

    Because in theory, at least, I think that even Progressives should have the right to defend their wives, daughters, young grandsons, sons, and even themselves ! at need, with a physical weapon including a firearm.

    . . .

    “In America, they haven’t spoken it [English] for years.” Niall, I am anguished to report that I disagree with you about the American split infinitive. It is slap-dash indeed! The fact that nowadays people don’t know any better is no excuse. In fact, what pains me so greatly about American English today is that in general it speaks to a slap-dash attitude toward writing (or else to ignorance or lack of craftsmanship), which causes all sorts of mayhem to whatever meaning a writer or speaker is trying (ineptly!) to convey.

    Usually it’s possible to re-word a thought so that it’s written readably and comprehensibly, and it avoids tripping up the reader.

    Laird, 50 demerits for copping to two heresies! Gryffondor is at risk of being bested by Slytherin!

    [Further disquisition upon this topic forgone. Thousands cheer.]

    EDIT: 2nd thought, maybe Slytherin is at risk of being bested by Gryffondor — the former being the home of evil, which certainly includes heresies.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Ted: Who’s Gertrude?

  • bobby b

    Splitting an infinitive amends the meaning of the bare infinitive, allowing for more complex and nuanced expression. The ability to freely split our infinitives sets us apart from the animals and the Latin-speakers. (In an ideal world, there would be separate one-word verbs for “freely split” and “grudgingly split”, but we make do by combining words.)

  • Laird

    Julie, to which two heresies do you refer? Splitting infinitives and ending with a preposition? I did say that I try to avoid them when possible, so I’m not precisely “copping” to them. But if you’re speaking of sentence fragments, I don’t accept them as “heresies”; I use them for effect, as has every English writer since the Bard.

    BTW, speaking of the Bard, if anyone has a chance to see the Tony Award-winning musical “Something Rotten“, it’s worth the visit. Shakespeare (played as an earlier-day rock star) is the more-or-less villain, and our heroes are a couple of his would-be competitors. Very funny, and some pretty good songs.

  • Mr Ed

    Splitting infinitives is not wrong, it is just a facet of English and the prefix ‘to’. To my ears, ‘to freely split’ has a distinct nuance of meaning to ‘to split freely’.

    In Portuguese, there are two infinitives, the ‘normal’ one and the ‘personal infinitive‘, what’s more object pronouns are inserted into the root verb and tense ending in some circumstances, so the violence done in English is really quite trivial.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Laird, I know. I was just teasing. ;>))

    (You did say, “neither is strictly improper.” Is too! –See, I can do six years old just as well as the next guy!)

    As for sentence fragments, I too use them, deliberately, as a stylistic device. I’ve also rather gotten into the habit of deliberately committing a really awful, bad, dreadful heresy myself: I’ve taken to using the comma splice. Oh dear. I suppose now there’s no hope of my being invited to join the gang on the Great Frog’s lily pad when the time comes.

    You have my official permish to use sentence fragments when it suits you. I do expect you to exercise this dispensation with the proper care, of course. Recklessness is to be avoided at all cost, except when it isn’t.

    The heck with the Great Frog!

    Excuse me now, I have to check out some musical-comedy (I gather) songs. :>))

  • Laird

    A comma splice? Even I haven’t sunk that low! That’s what semicolons are for! (Note: ends with a preposition.)

  • Julie near Chicago

    Don’t you mean “That’s for what are semicolons”? Ha-HA-ha-HA-ha-HA ;>)))!!!