Johann Hari gave Ed Miliband some suggestions the other day about to make himself more electable – and this included the advice that he should use more everyday language.
I have observed the opposite factor in David Cameron. He brilliantly understands how to use everyday words and phrases that ‘de-Etonise’ our Prime Minister very well.
We saw it the other day in Prime Ministers questions. While showing that Ed Balls had got to him was probably a tactical mistake, his criticism was couched using common language and phrases that chime with anyone that uses them. Consider the phrases ‘I wish the shadow chancellor would occasionally shut up’ and ‘the most annoying man in British politics’. Simple everyday language.
You see this over and over again. On the introduction of the no-fly-zone in Libya, Cameron didn’t say the motion was passed with judicious or propitious timing. He said it had been done in the ‘nick of time’.
Even when he gets it wrong, he gets it right – such as in this now notorious interview on Absolute Radio.
All this is very deliberate. It is to make him seem more in tune with the common man, more everyday, more one-of-us. It’s more than a tad cynical, but it’s very clever.
So next time you hear some everyday language from David Cameron, be on your toes. He’s probably trying to sell you something.