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Dear journalists: please stop calling everything a “dead cat”

It's comforting to imagine political blunders are actually acts of strategic cunning. But accusing news stories of being "dead cats" can do more harm than good

By Charlotte Lydia Riley  

No cats were harmed in the making of this article (even this one is only sleeping). Photo: Prospect composite

James Cleverley not turning up to a Sky interview is a “dead cat.” Jacob Rees Mogg saying that the Grenfell victims should have disobeyed official advice to stay put is a “dead cat.” The Prime Minister writing, but not saying, the word ‘onanism’ is a “dead cat.” Like the Rue St-Severin in 1730s Paris, this election has dead cats everywhere.

The phrase is supposed to denote the moment when political…

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