Simon Carr: 'Proply' speaking, this will be a proper shambles


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The Independent Online

The PM was due on Marr in a moment – but first a story of revenge, betrayal, slighted honour and slow strangulation. The Duchess of Malfi is a pretty good curtain-raiser to the condition of politics in Britain.

Then Cameron came on, doing as well as he can – and truth to say, he's still pretty prime ministerial. But you can't help thinking events are larger than he is, and looming larger every day.

How's he going to handle Stage II of his premiership? Here's a sketchy detail.

One of the PM's touchstone words is "proply". It's an upper-class version of "properly", which is itself a Tory version of the liberal-left "appropriately".

"Proply" is code signifying "People Like Us" and used repeatedly all through Stage I.

However, on Marr, Cameron used the word a dozen times in its normal three-syllable version. He's reaching out. Or he's not using his private language any more. You may wonder whether it's enough.

Now he's trying to deal with the Murdoch situation properly, doing the proper thing with his Culture Secretary, and properly trying to "create a bit of space to get at the truth".

No doubt the propriety is impeccable. Leave it to Leveson, a quasi-judicial proceeding under oath. That will properly fulfil his "responsibility to the ministerial code".

But would it be improper to take Hunt into a quiet room and ask him half a dozen pertinent questions? Never mind the forensic elaborations of nuanced ambiguities. Cameron and Hunt could establish the facts in a quarter of an hour, as gentlemen might do.

Because going into Leveson will really be a shambles. And let's not forget what a shambles is. It's an old word for an unregulated slaughterhouse. Butchery for beginners.

How much better to do the thing quickly, decently, proply.