More linguistic whizzery from John Prescott

John Prescott was actually being extremely clever when he announced yesterday that Labour “will reduce and probably eliminate the homeless by 2008.Eliminate, says the OED, comes from eliminare, to thrust out of doors, expel (e, out of + limen, liminis, threshold), so it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Mr Prescott was constructing an extraordinarily subtle linguistic joke, a kind of double negative equity, that would see the homeless turned into the homelessless, expelled from the outside back to the inside.

What is impressive is that the working man’s pinup intuited all this on the spur of the moment, whereas the tosspot Tory opposite, who probably studied Latin at school and at great expense, obviously hadn’t got the faintest about the English language or, for that matter, how to deal with homelessness.

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