Who's the sleaziest one of all?

Share
Related Topics
Sir Gordon Downey may still be sifting through all the sleaze- soiled evidence in his trays, but Collins Dictionaries have already completed their own analysis, and it shows that sleaze - originally cheap cloth from Silesia - has been bought up wholesale by the world of politics. Thanks to the 323 million words that have built up since 1988 to form the Collins Bank of English, we can now list the 25 people, institutions and concepts that have been most frequently in contact with the growing tide of sleaze. And the only entries with no political affiliations are football, sex and the Queen.

The items in the databank include both formal and informal texts, broadcast, published or spoken predominantly in the last two or three years. The words in the table have appeared most frequently either immediately next to the word "sleaze" or separated from it only by an insignificant word such as "the" or "and".

The word most frequently linked to "sleaze" is "allegations". In view of the libel laws, this is hardly surprising, but it is worth noting that if "Tories" (10th place) had been added to "Tory" (in second), they would almost certainly have overtaken it - though it would have been a close- run contest between "Tory" plus "Tories", compared with "allegations" plus "accusations".

"Downey" himself must now be making a late run from behind, but has failed to make the top 25 and clearly has a good deal of work to do if he is to catch "Nolan" in third place. While the Prime Minister can feel happy to have distanced himself sufficiently from the leaders, he still squeezes into the list in last place, well below greed, corruption, sex and incompetence.

The Opposition, however, can hardly be complacent: "Labour" nestles just below "political" and "party" in eighth place.

Most interestingly, "sleaze" itself is in 15th place. Even sleaze is now tainted with sleaze. Sleaze, sleaze and more sleaze ... And how many credits does that score in the sleaze proximity bank?

The 25 sleaziest words:

1. Allegations

2. Tory

3. Nolan

4. Scandal

5. Government

6. Political

7. Party

8. Labour

9. Inquiry

10. Tories

11. Factor

12. Row

13. Greed

14. Corruption

15. Sleaze

16. Scandals

17. Public

18. Incompetence

19. Accusations

20. Sex

21. Queen

22. Politics

23. Commons

24. Football

25. Major

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Regulatory / Compliance / Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Exeter - An excellent opportunity for a Solici...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - 12 Month Fixed Term - Shrewsbury

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: World Wide PLC Service Engineer

£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Mary Christmas: the Bethlehem story is Mary's moment, when a poor peasant girl gives birth to the Son of God in a stable  

The appeal of the Virgin Mary: A supernatural hope at a time of scepticism

Peter Stanford
 

Letters: Why Cameron is wrong about EU child benefits

Independent Voices
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there