Reading Eric Waugh’s article on “ ... Gordon and his spin doctors ...” (April 14) I encountered progressively ineffective use of that potent poetic device ever-present in our daily language use — the metaphor (of Greek origin, meaning ‘to carry across, transfer, remove’).
Revitalising the obvious cliche, a vivid opening comparison of the PM as the heedless “arrogant” driver of an out-of-control steam train, “its whistle sounding a note of triumph ... ignoring signals set at danger” — is soon replaced in the article by a pre-industrial landscape of a “rutted, demeaning track along which travels the slurry wagon of MPs on the make”.
While this reader paused at that sudden inexplicable removal of aforementioned railway, express train, signals etc, the next sentence only compounded the momentary confusion: “No party is able to cast a stone on this one”, cliched
Biblical reference aside, surely a ‘slurry wagon’ (no immediate image comes to mind) travelling along a rutted, demeaning track’ would make an easy target?
Resuming my perusal, all went well until the hoary old “swing of the pendulum” swung into view and a final tacked-on paragraph about the ‘Belfast Agreement’ which defied my attempts to supply the casually omitted clarity of language.
“The point I wish to make is that, in a corresponding situation, the Belfast Agreement provides no such escape road. The pendulum here is anchored on the centre point, whatever the weather ...”
Who was it said/wrote that good prose should be like a window?