Word games

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The Independent Online

It was a remarkably candid admission. In his speech to the Police Superintendents' Association yesterday, David Blunkett proclaimed: "I'm proud to be a populist." Of course, the Home Secretary chose to define "populism" as an entirely proper concern with reducing crime levels and ensuring that justice is done. Would that it were. Under the more common definition, "populism" is a cynical attempt by politicians to further their careers, by appeals to prejudice, cheap rhetoric and knee-jerk initiatives that end up doing more harm than good. Mr Blunkett's policies over recent years support the less-benign definition. This attempt to twist the meaning of words sums up all that is wrong with this illiberal Home Secretary.

It was a remarkably candid admission. In his speech to the Police Superintendents' Association yesterday, David Blunkett proclaimed: "I'm proud to be a populist." Of course, the Home Secretary chose to define "populism" as an entirely proper concern with reducing crime levels and ensuring that justice is done. Would that it were. Under the more common definition, "populism" is a cynical attempt by politicians to further their careers, by appeals to prejudice, cheap rhetoric and knee-jerk initiatives that end up doing more harm than good. Mr Blunkett's policies over recent years support the less-benign definition. This attempt to twist the meaning of words sums up all that is wrong with this illiberal Home Secretary.

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