How to Avoid Language Lapses (page 180, How To Be An MP)
Choice of language is tricky in communicating with voters and parliament. To avoid excessive pomposity and increase intimacy I usually drop titles especially aristocratic ones. Lord Stevenson was happy to be called Mr. and in return called me Citizen Flynn. God-botherers in the shape of an Archbishop and a senior Rabbi were unfazed when addressed at a Select Committee as ‘You guys...’
A path between expected formality and received familiarly should be sought. Ignorance of changing word use is dangerous. A local paper asked for a comment from Caerphilly MP Wayne David on ‘increased dogging’ on Caerphilly Mountain. He said ‘I welcomed it. Should be more of it’. Luckily the reporter did not thank Wayne and click-brrrr off. Quite fairly he could have published the shock news that ‘Local MP calls for more open air sex between strangers in constituency’. Un-worldly Wayne thought ‘dogging’ meant corralling stray dogs.
"The source on this is well placed: a prominent MP was called by his local newspaper and asked what he thought about a beauty spot’s growing reputation as a “dogging hot spot”. “Marvellous,” he told the hack. “I’m delighted so many people are enjoying the area.” The reporter spared the MP’s blushes and, sadly, allowed him to change his quote after the unworldly fiftysomething politician was informed the practice involved group sex and voyeurism, rather than people walking their pets."