'When I use a word', said Humpty Dumpty
in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just
what I choose it to mean - neither more
Controlling what words mean is a very powerful tool.
There are rumblings within the Tory Party. A new group of MPs claiming to be Euro-sceptic has formed headed by one of David Cameron's closest political allies, George Eustace.
Richard North and Autonomous Mind quickly pointed out that the group muddied the waters around the term "Eurosceptic", and helpfully offered the more accurate label "Europlastic".
Now, Mark Pritchard is spreading more confusion. The problem for MPs is that anyone with a properly formed opinion on the EU knows that the people are owed an in-out referendum. Pritchard tries to turn the thrust of this by suggesting two referenda on Europe. The first (which is far more likely to occur) is about enquiring politely of the people of Britain whether they'd like political union, or rather a trading block. As a question, it's something of a no-op. Almost no campaigning would occur, since the result is a foregone conclusion.
He's trying to ensure that there is wriggle room when the word referendum is used by redefining a commonly understood term. It's a childish trick, copying Humpty Dumpty, straight out of Alice in Wonderland.