A brief guide to euphemisms in political-journalism


Important intervention: a trite observation; a vague statement of the obvious

Coordinated: ad-hoc; badly organised.

Furious row: pointless bickering


A reliable source: an unreliable source of information

A senior source: a source abusing their position of trust

Latest opinion poll: latest made up numbers

Polling very badly: polling well


Win: lose

Triumph: lose badly

Son of a humble bus-driver: a crook who had to leave their previous job in banking, due to misconduct

Park tanks on opponent’s lawn: make insincere pledges for personal gain

Moral high ground: the political gutter


Centre ground: hard-right economics

Radical centre: hard-right economics

Centre left: committed to hard right economics

Moderate: right-wing

Prudent: right-wing


Liberal: right-wing, but not afraid of homosexuality

Pro-Europe: right-wing – but prioritising money over racism, by a narrow margin

Extreme left: left-wing

Radical: mild

Not really radical at all: quite radical


People: big business and major banks

Peoples’ vote: a lobbying effort conducted in the interests of big business and major banks

The needs of the nation: the profiteering of big business and major banks

Patriotism: serving the interests of big business and major banks


Impressive: feeble or unconvincing

Increasingly impressive: embarrassingly feeble or unconvincing

Forced to: chosen to

Chosen: been compelled by circumstance


Confirms: repeats a previously disproved claim

Accessory: innocent bystander

Standing by: being left powerless by events

Doing nothing: working tirelessly


If…: what will not happen is…

Then…: therefore we won’t see….

If the Prime Minister loses a vote of confidence then there will be a change of government: what will not happen is the Prime Minister losing a vote of confidence, therefore we won’t see a change of government.


Noble and difficult: self-serving and unpopular

Healing divisions: sidelining the public

Bringing people back together: overruling the public

Cross-party effort: stitching the public up openly

Achieving consensus: stitching the public up discreetly


Resistance: grifting; grandstanding

Rebel: an MP who never rebels

Next time: never

Next time might: will never

Next time might vote to prevent: will never under circumstances vote to prevent


Increasingly unlikely: already confirmed

Unchanged: constantly vacillating

Position has not altered: position has been substantially altered on a number of occasions; and is now back to where it was originally

Come a long way: gone around in circles


Seeking: supplicating

Demanding: pleading

Insisting: begging

Renegotiate: continue to demand something which has been rejected repeatedly


Genuinely: insincerely

Clever: dishonest; manipulative

Woo: attempt to bribe


Hard-left Brexiter: somebody who opposed and campaigned against Brexit; and has sought to mitigate it ever since

Worst opposition leader in history: one of the most effective opposition leaders in history

An opposition that doesn’t really know how to oppose: an opposition which has repeatedly inflicted defeats on the government

Ought to be taking full advantage of this situation: was severely damaged by this situation


Fascinating: tedious

Importance : triviality

Pointless: worthwhile

Unmemorable: significant

Stand with: issue platitudes


Easy: impossible

Impossible: easy

Only too easy to imagine: impossible to visualize

Impossible to believe: easily envisioned


Refused to answer: wasn’t willing to answer a trick question

Refused to deny: wasn’t able to answer a trick question

Seemed to u-turn: reiterated a previous statement which had been ignored


Civility: not disputing the claims of journalists

Incivility: pointing out flaws/inconsistencies in a journalist’s output/logic

A nightmare: a minor inconvenience

The political class has let us all down: the politics I have always supported are now beginning to jeopardize my own interests – it’s not fair