Column for the Jewish News August 12 2016
Today we are going to learn some new words to add to the English dictionary. Some of them are a bit difficult, but I’m sure we’ll all get the hang of them soon.
Chakrabarti, (chak ra barti) verb, transitive: this word has several meanings. Up until last week, it meant to pass yellow Post-It notes to a Leader without anyone knowing the contents. (NB this meaning only applies in front of a House of Commons Select Committee).
However, as of this week, “to Chakrabarti” can mean, variously, to accept a Labour peerage while having fiercely denied you were going to do any such thing; to conduct a supposedly independent inquiry on antisemitism for the Labour Party, which is nothing of the sort; to interview a whole range of submissions for the inquiry and reflect few of them in your report; to suggest, incorrectly, that the reason Baroness Royall’s report into student antisemitism was not published was because individual names were identified; to launch your inquiry on antisemitism at a chaotic press conference at which a Jewish MP is insulted in front of you with antisemitic remarks. “To Chakrabati”, additionally: “to mislead”.
Goddard, (god dard, New Zealand pronunciation), adjective: a Goddard Inquiry will always be the third and least successful in a run of chaired government inquiries. Characteristics are an inability to distinguish persons from institutions — thus the Goddard Inquiry into child sex abuse, supposedly set up to look at how alleged victims had been institutionally failed, chose to begin its investigations with a separate strand on the late Lord Janner. Given that the peer was both dead and a person, rather than an institution, Goddard is the only possible word to use here.
Also q.v. Goddard resignation: use this adjective when you jump before you are pushed, ensuring your resignation is two lines long and the Home Secretary’s acceptance of the resignation 10 times longer.
Lebanon bus boarding, adverbial phrase: to ensure you use this terminology properly, wait until the Israeli Olympic delegation is ready to board the bus in Rio which you are meant to be sharing, refuse to allow them to board, and, in case they don’t quite get the message, physically block the entrance to the bus when the driver opens the door. Make sure, additionally, that you claim there has been a misunderstanding when reprimanded by the International Olympic Committee.
Biggins, verb, transitive: to make a series of ill-judged, foolish and offensive remarks, get yourself thrown off a reality TV show, and then wonder what all the fuss is about. You are using this term correctly if, when Bigginsing, you make a Holocaust-related “joke” to someone Jewish and then claim that even though the remark was about Nazis and gas chambers, it hadn’t occurred to you that this was what you were saying. (NB you need to be at least in your late 60s to use this word properly, ie. old enough to know better).
Use this verb together with “to Shalit”, which means getting someone, preferably a show business agent, to defend your Bigginsing by saying you are a national treasure and a thoroughly lovely person.
And let us not forget the most useful new word in our lexicon, another verb, “to Corbyn”. This fine term has any number of elastic meanings to apply in day-to-day conversation. You could, for example, say you were “about to Corbyn the Board of Deputies” if you meant you were approaching a meeting with the Board with complete and utter contempt.
We have long used the infinitive verb “to Corbyn” as a shorthand way of saying “my friends in Hamas and Hizbollah”. But why not try using it in order to say: “I want to nominate my friend for the House of Lords even though I said I wasn’t going to nominate anyone, and I lobbied Downing Street in order to have this one Labour nomination on David Cameron’s resignation honours list, and I forfeited any opportunity of attacking the Tories for cronyism, and, opportunely, the friend I have nominated has just produced an inquiry into antisemitism and she has concluded it is not rife in Labour?” You see how useful it is, just to say you have Corbynised?
Next month: new meanings for Trump, Galloway, Farage and “He-Should-Consider-His-Position-Diane Abbott”. But if you were wondering, “to Wes Streeting” currently means standing up and saying the right thing. Do use this compound verb wherever you can.