Tuesday, October 24, 2006

"Stay the Course" leaves the field

Sorry for mixing the sporting metaphors in the title but: thank the lord! I've just heard on the radio Tony Snow (photo left), the Whitehouse press secretary, say that President Bush is no longer going to use the phrase "stay the course". Regardless of the politics, this cringe-inducing cliché should have died a natural death long ago. It is my second most hated cliché in international politics after "boots on the ground", a horrible phrase that the BBC doesn't seem to be able to fully rid itself of although you don't hear it quite so much as over the last couple of years.

The presenters on "Today" on Radio 4 were amongst the worst abusers of "boots on the ground" - it got to the point where I actually imagined that John Humphrys might really believe that the way to stabilise Southern Iraq was to turf a load of boots out of the back of a C-130. I never really got their fondness for it - "boots on the ground" is four syllables, "soldiers" is two: life is complicated enough already.

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