The top ten: Mixed metaphors
John Rentoul is chief political commentator for The Independent on Sunday, and visiting professor at King's College, London, and at Queen Mary University of London. Previously he was chief leader writer for The Independent. He has written a biography of Tony Blair, whom he admired more at the end of his time in office than he did at the beginning.
Sunday 16 March 2014
'Mixed metaphors have been neglected in recent metaphor research,' according to an academic paper on artificial intelligence by the School of Computer Science at the University of Birmingham. So I am grateful to Anthony Polson for suggesting this collection.
1. 'Ahmadinejad wields axe to cement his position' Independent headline, 14 December 2010.
2. 'It would open up a can of worms and a legal minefield about freedom, religion and equalities legislation… It may open up old wounds and put people into the trenches; no one wants that' David Burrowes, Conservative MP, on gay marriage, 17 January 2012.
3. 'Labour are fighting like rats in a barrel' Charlie Elphicke, Conservative MP, 16 February 2014. Suggested by Steve Van Riel.
4. 'I don't like it. When you open that Pandora's box, you will find it full of Trojan horses' Ernest Bevin, Labour Foreign Secretary, on the idea of a Council of Europe, 1948. Nominated by Francis Wheen.
5. 'I'm kickstarting a drive to get employee ownership into the bloodstream' Nick Clegg, 17 January 2012. Thanks to James Chapman.
6. 'Far-right vacuum could trigger "lone-wolf" attacks' Independent headline, 29 December 2012. Errors & Omissions editor Guy Keleny had some fun trying to imagine the precise mechanism involved.
7. 'They've put all their eggs in one basket and it's misfired' Paul Merson, Sky football pundit, of West Ham's purchase of Andy Carroll. From Vincent Clark.
8. 'Out of the hat on Monday night the Home Secretary produced the rabbit, the temporary provisions Bill, as her fig leaf to cover her major U-turn' Simon Hughes, Lib Dem MP, 2008. Nominated by Saul Minaee.
9. 'To take arms against a sea of troubles,/And by opposing end them' Just to show that they are not always bad.
10. 'We're like the canary down the mine. We're the first people who pick up what's going on out there and what we're seeing at the moment is a boiling pot whose lid is coming off' Markos Chrysostomou, Haringey Citizens Advice Bureau, on the effects of cuts, 19 November 2012.
Next week: Genuine shop names (such as Sellfridges).
Coming soon: Fictional villains. Send your suggestions, and ideas for future Top 10s, to firstname.lastname@example.org
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awardsTheatre
Grace DentChannel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 2 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 3 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 4 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
- 5 Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
Better Call Saul creator Peter Gould on the creative concerns of a prequel, season 2 and the mind-numbing realities of the small courts
Britain's Got Talent 2015: RSPCA investigating Marc Metral's miming dog after cruelty complaints
Doctor Who film will definitely happen, leaked Sony emails reveal
The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer has leaked – watch
Madonna might be a stand-up comedy virgin - but she wasn't terrible
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling