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Tuesday, 5 June, 2001, 16:29 GMT 17:29 UK
Blairspeak: The new language of our time

blairspeakn, the emerging patois of the political and media classes,

IDENTIFIED: by lexicographers at Collins Dictionary who have been studying the rise of new terms in political discourse

VARIATIONS: up to 30 specific terms have been identified. They include:
1) Blairism - n, the doctrines and approach of Tony Blair
2) Blairish - adj, anything showing any influence of number 1
3) Blairites - n, followers of number 1
4) Blairbabes - n, female followers of number 1, specifically women MPs
5) Blairlings - n, swelling ranks of Blair offspring
6) Blairwaves - n, preponderance of numbers 4 and 5 on radio and TV programmes
7) Mandelblairian - adj, influenced by the doctrines and approach of the power axis between Mr Blair and Peter Mandelson, at its peak between 1997-8, and again between 1999 -2001. Prognosis uncertain.

CAUSATION: "Mr Blair and his party have devoted a lot of their energies to interpreting things and to deal with language in a somewhat different way, so it's inevitable that the media react to that by using language creatively to develop all these new words." Jeremy Butterfield, Collins.

INCIDENCE: to qualify, words must have been found in several sources, and have achieved a degree of longevity

ANTONYMS: Collins identified only three Hague terms, Hagueism (the doctrines and approach etc), Haguettes (junior followers of the doctrines and approach etc ) and Hagueites (senior followers etc etc)

COMPARE WITH: Thatcherism (phrase coined by academic Stuart Hall); Bennite (the followers of Tony Benn); Butskellism (the bi-partisan approach of the 1950s combining Tory Butler and Labour Gaitskell); Disraeli'ite (made up).

FUTURE POSSIBILITIES: Brownianism; Portillistas; Twigglets; Duncan-Smithsonians


Reader Sean Thomas adds: I believe that the correct phrase for followers of Disraeli is "Beaconsfieldites" not the (admittedly made-up)"Disraeli'ite". The reason for this is due to his elevation to the House of Lords as Earl of Beaconsfield following his failing health.

Reader Paul Williams adds:... but wouldn't a follower of Disraeli have been a 'Disraelite'?

Newisms and oldisms can be submitted to the E-cyclopedia by clicking here.

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