“The genius of democracies,” wrote de Tocqueville, “is seen not only in the great number of new words introduced but even more in the new ideas they express.” And when it comes to new political words, what better place to look than in the names of politicians? From Aristophanes on, onomastic word-play has been a way of sorting the genius of democracy from the dunce. Helpfully, New Labour has served up a succession of politicians whose names chime perfectly with the bland, milky corporatism of their politics: Blair, Blears, Byers, Blunkett, Beckett, two Browns, one Balls, Milburn, Banks and a…
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