Politics

Might I’ve a phrase about… when tsars collide | Jonathan Bouquet


I lately obtained this heartfelt beef from Melvin Hurst from Ventnor: “Am I the only reader to bridle at the use of the word ‘tsar’ as a pseudonym for ‘supremo’ or simply ‘chief’? It is meant to signify an official or politician who has taken control of some contentious issue, presumably with the interests of the general public foremost in mind. However, the historical office on which the term is based could not have been further from that ideal. Most of the supreme autocrats of the pre-revolution Russian Empire ruled as absolute despots, while the last incumbent, Nicholas II, had complete disdain for the ordinary people. Surely a less inappropriate term can be found?”

I see what Mr Hurst means. We have a value of residing tsar, an anti-corruption tsar, a meals tsar, a shipbuilding tsar (that’s the defence secretary, Ben Wallace, to you and me), a pupil wellbeing tsar, an ethics tsar (that was Christopher Geidt), a social mobility tsar, a kids’s tsar. You get the image. I might go on, however I received’t, as I want to spare Mr Hurst’s emotions, however I feel his level is effectively made. Alas, I worry that this lazy shorthand is right here to remain and we’re merely going to must grit our enamel.

Another reader, John Hopkin from Cologne, despatched me the next: “At 8:15 on the Today programme, I’m pretty sure the CEO of Cornwall Airport claimed that airports and airlines were trying to ‘right-size their people’. I think he meant matching the number of people to the number of jobs.”

I’m clueless as to what this might presumably imply and am completely happy to accept Mr Hopkin’s rationalization. It strikes me that when so many individuals are having their journey plans severely disrupted, as an alternative being fobbed off with such senseless administration converse, as a matter of courtesy, spokesmen may attempt a little bit of lucidity for a change.

Jonathan Bouquet is an Observer columnist



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