Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Esperantory: Lesson One.

Apparently, the Tories are ahead of Labour in more than just the latest ICM poll. The general consensus is that Tory MPs are blogging MPs, switched on, wired in, blackberried up and blogging like their majorities depended upon it. Labour MPs, in contrast are reputed as old-school fusty luddites, clanking away on imperial typewriters, writing "letters" and sending "post". Inky of finger and gummy of tongue, the Labourite looks at his Cameroonie counterpart and sees an iMP, Politician 2.0.

Of course, this is all arse. There are plenty of blogging MPs on both sides of the house. Which is great for a cynical, lefty layabout like me cos I can cut parts of the Tory blogs and paste them into my blog to make them look silly.

It isn't hard. It's the language that they use - it's a completely separate tongue from English. Despite having the same Anglo-Saxon, Viking and latin roots as English, it's an animal all of its own: Esperantory.

Esperantory is pitched midway between a Daily Mail editorial and a vicar's sermon. But it's not just the patronising, pulpiteering tone: it has its own grammar, speech patterns, indicators and rhythms. I'm going to take you through a couple of examples.

Nadine Dorries is just the kind of MP that has taken to blogging like a Conservative Deputy Chairman to slopping out. Before I flag up her Esperantory, let's enjoy this choice quote:

Since David Cameron became leader of the Conservative party he has been pressurised by the extreme right and the media into declaring who he is and what he believes in.

(The Bounders! Imagine: there you are, leader of the opposition and you have all these fusty old Tories demanding you tell them what the bloody hell they should be doing! It's enough to drive you to drink. Or dru.... no, that's too easy.)

The prime example of Esperantory on Nadine's Blog comes in a piece on the need for children to have boundaries. She employs a classic Esperantory language pattern - False Reverie (or "FR")FR is best defined as a fond recollection of more innocent times that never actually existed. This is choice Esperantory: "Oh, how it was before this lot got in and destroyed the country".

Nadine takes us back to her childhood:

Imagine this scene. Two teenage girls walking down a street. A Policeman is walking behind, as he was about once every fifteen minutes or so.

Er, once every fifteen minutes? When was this? Where was this? Did Nadine grow up on Oxford Street? I bet even Tony Blair doesn't get a Policeman walking down his street every "fifteen minutes or so".

Now to you, this may just be a laughably bad attempt to play to the "Bobbies on the Beat" Tory element (itself a lesser element of Esperantory). But to me, this is a clarion call - I immediately know I'm in for some prime False Reverie. Mentally, I've made the leap.

Nadine goes on...

One girl swore. The other ducked, to miss the hand she knew would be straight out from behind – it was – it got the girl who swore by the scruff of her coat and marched her down her path to her parent’s front door.

This is classic Opposition Reverie from La Dorries - textbook stuff. She's got three of the big four:
1. the innocence of childhood
2. the uniquitous bobby on the beat
3. a story that ends (implicitly or explicitly) with "... needless to say, my parents were horrified"

It's just a shame she can't work in the remaining member of the big four - a reference to street upon street of unlocked front doors. But in my heart of hearts, I just know that parent's door was unlocked.

Nadine Dorries, Esperantorist extraordinaire, pete salutes you.

As impressive as Nadine's False Reverie is, there is one Esperantory phrase which supercedes all others. When I hear it, I know that, despite Dishy Dave, "hug a hoody", and the "Decontamination of the Conservative Brand", the British Tory is thriving. Shouting at foreigners, quaffing port and generally behaving like an Oxford Undergraduate at a private restaurant party - alive and kicking.

That phrase?

"You Couldn't Make It Up."

Even writing it down gives me a warm glow.

It's a true favourite of the Tories - and well reflected on their blogs. Let me take you through an excellent example.

Richard Spring MP's blog is pretty good really. Alright, it's not really interactive, so it reads like a teenager's diary that has been accidently-on-purpose left out for his parents to read the day before they do the Christmas present shopping, but he goes easy on the moralising.

But on February 8th this year he launched forth on the snow fall that week.

Well, not really the snow *that* week, but a particularly bad snow fall four years ago. Long story short, he got caught in the snow. I know - it's not exactly Lord of the Rings, but bear with me.

For a couple of paragraphs, the story meanders inconequentially and appears to go nowhere. To the unitiated, this looks like just another Tory whinge, but to the expert it is clear that a nice bit of Esperantory is stirring just beneath the tugid surface.

What had happened is that the Highways Agency had neglected to grit the road surface, despite the earlier warnings: allegedly because of windy conditions.

By now the fluent Esperantorist is on the edge of his seat, heart rate rising, cheeks flushing: he knows full well where this is going. When you start recalling paltry excuses made by faceless bureaucrats, you're on a six-lane blacktop to only one place. And Richard takes us there, in fine style, dropping the immortal phrase like it ain't no thang:

You couldn’t make it up.

Now, for me, YCMIU should always be followed by an exclamation mark, purely for stylistic reasons. But otherwise, this is a classic YCMIU: a perfectly common everyday story, a poor excuse from a public service worker, then... BANG:

You couldn't make it up.

YCMIU raises some philosophical questions: its very existence shows that Tories are a cursed people. To so frequently express such childlike surprise from such ordinary events can mean only one thing. They are born with an entirely non-existant imagination.

For them, the very concept of a fictitious story (apart from an election manifesto, or an expenses return) is anathema. Don't make the mistake of thinking that YCMIU is hyberbole or sarcasm - it isn't. They literally cannot make stories up: they're incapable. Hence their disbelieiving incredulity at the most banal events.

Someone once said that if you gave an infinite number of monkies an infinite number of typewriters for an infinite number of time, they would eventually rattle off the complete works of Shakespeare. Not if the monkies were Tory they wouldn't. You wouldn't even get the complete works of Jeffrey Archer.

Many people have criticised Jeffrey Archer's writing, claiming that, despite his stratospheric success at the checkout, he is actually an awful author whose illegible drafts are slashed to pieces and reconstructed by a phantom editor cum ghostwriter. I cannot agree.

The very fact that Archer - Tory through and through - was able to even formulate a story is of amazement to me. That he was able amass an extraordinary fortune through the sale of fiction is for me the equivalent of a deaf Beethoven writing Ode to Joy, more impressive than David Blunkett rising to Home Secretary despite his blindness, more of an achievement than Steve Redgrave's fifth gold.

Jeffrey Archer - fantasist, perjurer and author, pete salutes you.

If you have any other examples of Esperantory, let me know...

1 comment:

Tim J said...

Yup, those Tories can't write to save themselves. And who was that Labour MP who won the Nobel Prize for Literature?