Jack Straw yesterday on Alistair Campbell’s ‘dodgy dossier’ on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq:
I sincerely wish that key phrase, ‘complete horlicks’ was chosen on the spur of the moment, but somehow I doubt it. It fits too accurately the message Straw needed to be sending at this point: a severe chastisement to a fellow member of government (and, implicitly, to the Prime Minister himself), but tempered somehow — anyhow. Because Horlicks used “Horlicks!” as a substitute swear word in its advertising a couple of years ago, it handily exists as a word which serves the function of something negative (”bollocks!”) but is actually surrounded by positive connotations (sleep, warmth, mother comfort, milky goodness). I like Horlicks, but this political appropriation of adspeak makes me almost as queasy as the adspeak itself.
That said, I think even a furious Jack Straw would have drawn the line at calling Campbell a French Connection UK-er.