If George Orwell were alive today, he'd be spinning in his grave. One of his rules for good writing was: "never use a metaphor which you are used to seeing in print." The dead tree industry seems to think Orwell was a twat.
The FT tells us that: "Mr Brown rode to Mr Blair's rescue"
What, you mean he saddled up his hoss, threw the PM over it, shouted "hi-ho silver" and rode off onto the prairie?
The Evening Standard reckons the PM is "battle-scarred."
What exactly were his injuries? How long's he spent in hospital? Will he make a full recovery? Will he be fit enough to be PM? At a time when people really are battle-scarred as a result of the PM's own actions, this is surely a tasteless metaphor.
The Times tells us: "Blair anoints Brown as the next Premier"
The OED gives the following definitions of "anoint": "to smear with an unguent"; "to apply or pour on oil"; to moisten or rub a surface"; "to beat soundly, to baste."
I'd pay good money to see Mr Blair do any of these to Mr Brown. (Another definition is "to besmear with flattery, to butter", but this is not the conventional meaning.)
The Times also offers: "Labour finds itself under siege after Iraq war advice U-turn."
Changing direction to drive into a siege sounds like a silly thing to do.
Now, I know I risk coming across as a grumpy old man - alright, a grumpy bald old man - to complain about this, but I think it's revealing. Why do journalists not simply report the facts? Why the resort to high-falutin, often military, metaphor? Could it be that their reports, and the events they describe, would be unutterably bland without a hefty dollop of spice?
And another thing. The Groan's economic illiteracy surfaces again. This report on Ed Balls' election campaigning revives "neoclassical endogenous growth theory."
Look, cretins. Ed Balls words were "post-neoclassical endogenous growth theory". In orthodox neoclassical growth theory - as described in Robert Solow's classic book - growth is exogenous. It happens because technical progress, which happens for reasons the theory doesn't describe, is strong enough to offset the endogenous force of diminishing returns. Endogenous growth theory tries to improve on this, by explaining technical progress as a function of economic factors. Mr Balls' reference to "post-neoclassical" was intended to make the contrast clear.