Posh Prof tells young Tone to learn to speak proper
Sunday 19 October 1997
John Honey, formerly professor of English at Osaka University in Japan, indicted the Labour leader with a grave charge: that he had failed to guard his educated accent from the infiltration of Estuary English or "watered down Cockney".
The evidence was heard in silence, as the professor began to deconstruct the language of Tony Blair. His reading of I Corinthians 13 at the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, had been "impressive" but he had let himself down in the eighth verse by carelessly dropping his 'd's.
"When I was a chil', I spoke as a chil', I though' as a chil'," read Prof Honey, in a passable impersonation. "Now I put away chil'ish things."
Further, in the Scottish devolution campaign Mr Blair had allowed his 'i's to be "lowered" to 'u's. "Conservatuve," said Prof Honey. People nodded. They had noticed, too.
Was this the effect of the County Durham constituency or the Premier's school Fettes College? His favourite teacher, Eric Anderson, who went on to become headmaster of Eton, or even his days at Oxford? No, these linguistic traits had come from Estuary English, which has "reached epidemic proportions, and it is now common to hear it among school teachers and university professors".
As Prof Honey railed against declining standards in British schools and the poor example set by public figures, his entire address began to resemble a Blair speech, with the Prime Minister at his most messianic. Some of the perpetrators of the academic fraud of anti-grammar were "in... this... very... building"(the London University Institute of Education).
He worried for his daughter born that very morning "weighing seven pounds and sure to cost pounds 7,000 in school fees". He made a call to arms against the "enemies of Standard English". He raised his hands, he alternatively glared and smiled paternalistically at his enthusiastic audience. "Please, Mr Blair ... Please ... Mr ... Blair," he said imploringly, "watch out!" He shook his head, sadly. "Or ... doesn't ... it ... matter?"
South Korea ferry: Vice principal rescued from sinking ship found hanged
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Wreckage could be found within a week as search reaches 'very critical juncture', says minister
Royal Tour 2014: Is the Duchess of Cambridge the only person ever to climb into a fighter jet wearing a dress and high heels?
Kim Jong-un, crowds and contraband: Inside North Korea with the Pyongyang marathon winner
Cover up! Mother told to show less cleavage during Disneyland family trip: 'Are we supposed to wear turtlenecks our whole lives?'
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
- 1 'Natural' energy drink banned for containing erectile dysfunction drug
- 2 Dylan Tombides: West Ham confirm 20-year-old striker has died after battle with cancer
- 3 Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
- 4 Angus Steakhouse: How does tourist staple continue to thrive in today's gourmet market?
- 5 Cover up! Mother told to show less cleavage during Disneyland family trip: 'Are we supposed to wear turtlenecks our whole lives?'
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...